Attorney General Eric Holder announced Monday that he is changing Justice Department policy so that “low-level, nonviolent” drug offenders will no longer face mandatory minimum prison sentences.
Holder announced the overhaul during a speech to the American Bar Association in San Francisco.
“Too many Americans go to too many prisons for far too long, and for no truly good law enforcement reason,” Holder said.
The attorney general said he’s “mandated” that certain low-level offenders “who have no ties to large-scale organizations, gangs, or cartels” will not be charged with offenses that impose stiff mandatory minimum sentences. Rather, he said, they will be charged with offenses that carry sentences “better suited to their individual conduct.”
The announcement drew praise from some in Congress, including one vocal administration critic. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said he was “encouraged” by the announcement and that minimum sentences for non-violent offenders “do not serve public safety.”