The Justice Department is planning to alter its policy on charging some drug offenders so that they will no longer face mandatory minimum prison sentences, according to remarks prepared for delivery Monday by Attorney General Eric Holder.
In an address due to be given to the American Bar Association in San Francisco, Holder said he is mandating that drug offenders with no ties to large-scale organizations, gangs or cartels and no history of violence won’t be charged with offenses that impose mandatory minimums. Such sentences — a product of the government’s war on drugs in the 1980s — limit the discretion of judges to impose shorter prison sentences on offenders.
Under the altered policy, the attorney general said defendants will instead be charged with offenses for which accompanying sentences “are better suited to their individual conduct, rather than excessive prison terms more appropriate for violent criminals or drug kingpins.”
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