Reform criminal justice now. That was the core message US Attorney General Eric Holder delivered recently to the American Bar Associationand our nation. He declared that "too many Americans go to too many prisons for far too long, and for no truly good law enforcement reason" and at great public expense.
Seeking to cut imprisonment rates and spending while protecting the
public, Holder has directed the Justice Department to charge non-violent
drug offenders with less severe federal crimes. Beyond reducing the use
of mandatory minimum sentences and shortening prison times for
lower-level drug felons, while reserving more serious charges and longer
sentences for violent and higher-ranking drug traffickers, the Justice
Department supports sentencing more people to rehab than
(re-)imprisonment for crimes rooted in drug abuse and addiction.
Those reforms, among others, according to Holder, will do more for
"the lives being harmed, not helped, by a criminal justice system that
doesn't serve the American people as well as it should". There is one
group of Americans that couldn't agree more – the children of the imprisoned.