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Attorney General Urges Legislators To Reduce Nonviolent Drug Sentences

After the U.S. Sentencing Committee voted in favor of reducing sentences for nonviolent drug crimes, the progress was noted. President Obama recently called for clemency and now Attorney General Eric Holder has echoed these cries.

AG Eric Holder Supports Retroactively Reducing Jailtime

On Tuesday, Attorney General Holder announced his support for retroactively reducing sentences for those already serving jail time for non-violent drug offenses.

“Not everyone in prison for a drug-related offense would be eligible,” Holder said Tuesday. “Nor would everyone who is eligible be guaranteed a reduced sentence. But this proposal strikes the best balance between protecting public safety and addressing the overcrowding of our prison system that has been exacerbated by unnecessarily long sentences.”

sally yatesThe US commission heard testimony Tuesday from Georgia U.S. Attorney Sally Yates, who also offered her support for the measure.

“While we believe finality in sentencing should remain the general rule, and with public safety our foremost goal, we also recognize that sentences imposed for some drug defendants under the current sentencing guidelines are longer than necessary,” Yates told the commission. “And this creates a negative impact upon both the public’s confidence in the criminal justice system and our prison resources.”

Thousands of lives have been altered by the war on drugs, and advocates believe the adjustment to these laws could drastically improve their situation. According to the Drug Policy Alliance, 20 to 50 thousand prisoners may be positively affected by this change and it could save taxpayers an estimated $2.4 billion.

“This move would help correct sentencing laws that have broken our criminal justice system and led to the mass incarceration of many low-level nonviolent drug offenders.” – Anthony Papa

Anthony Papa, Media Relations Manager for The Drug Policy Alliance, who served 12 years behind bars due to New York’s Rockefeller Drug Laws, applauded Attorney General Holder for his support. In doing so, he explained the potential benefits of retroactively reducing drug sentences.

“Many prisoners that would become eligible have paid their debt to society and deserve a second chance to be reunited with their families and become productive tax-paying citizens,” Papa says. “This move would help correct sentencing laws that have broken our criminal justice system and led to the mass incarceration of many low-level nonviolent drug offenders.”

Legislators are expected to vote on on the measure next month. Those interested in more information are encouraged to contact Tony Newman (646-335-5384) or Tony Papa (646-420-7290)

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Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) New York, New York

The Drug Policy Alliance is among the most prominent organizations for drug policy reform in America. The group was founded in 2000 and its focus spans from medical marijuana to youth drug education.In addition to …

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