U.S. Attorney General Advances Justice Reform Agenda

August 13, 2013

Attorney General Eric Holder addresses the American Bar Association on August 12.

Attorney General Eric Holder announced steps to reform the criminal justice system’s treatment of nonviolent drug offenders at the Annual Meeting of the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates in San Francisco on August 12, 2013. “Too many Americans go to too many prisons for far too long, and for no truly good law enforcement reason,” he said in his address.

In an effort to bypass tough mandatory prison terms while reducing America’s prison population and saving money, Attorney General Holder said the Justice Department would direct federal prosecutors to charge defendants in certain low-level drug cases in such a way that they would not be eligible for mandatory sentences now on the books. “To ensure that this work is, and will remain, a top priority throughout the country,” he would also order all U.S. Attorneys to designate a Prevention and Reentry Coordinator.

Additionally, Attorney General Holder discussed the Federal Interagency Reentry Council’s efforts to curb the collateral consequences of incarceration on people who are returning to society from custody, and directed “all Department of Justice components, going forward, to consider whether any proposed regulation or guidance may impose unnecessary collateral consequences on those seeking to rejoin their communities.”

For the full speech, click here.

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