Click for St. Louis, Missouri Forecast

// a href = ./ // St Louis News, Weather, Sports, The Big 550 AM, St Louis Traffic, Breaking News in St Louis

Online pharmacy:fesmag.com/tem

Have you a sex problem? Please visit our site:fesmag.com/medic

Site map
 
 
 

   WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Eric Holder is calling for major changes to the nation's criminal justice system that would scale back the use of harsh prison sentences for certain drug-related crimes, divert people convicted of low-level offenses to drug treatment and community service programs and expand a prison program to allow for release of some elderly, non-violent offenders.

   In remarks prepared for delivery Monday to the American Bar Association in San Francisco, Holder said he is mandating a change to Justice Department policy so that low-level, non-violent drug offenders with no ties to large-scale organizations, gangs or cartels won't be charged with offenses that impose mandatory minimum sentences.

   Mandatory minimum prison sentences — a product of the government's war on drugs in the 1980s — limit the discretion of judges to impose shorter prison sentences.

   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."

   Federal prisons are operating at nearly 40 percent above capacity and hold more than 219,000 inmates — with almost half of them serving time for drug-related crimes and many of them with substance use disorders. In addition, 9 million to 10 million prisoners go through local jails each year. Holder praised state and local law enforcement officials for already instituting some of the types of changes Holder says must be made at the federal level.

   Aggressive enforcement of federal criminal laws is necessary, but "we cannot simply prosecute or incarcerate our way to becoming a safer nation," Holder said. "Today, a vicious cycle of poverty, criminality and incarceration traps too many Americans and weakens too many communities. However, many aspects of our criminal justice system may actually exacerbate this problem, rather than alleviate it."

   "We need to ensure that incarceration is used to punish, deter and rehabilitate — not merely to convict, warehouse and forget," said the attorney general.

   Holder said mandatory minimum sentences "breed disrespect for the system. When applied indiscriminately, they do not serve public safety. They have had a disabling effect on communities. And they are ultimately counterproductive."

   Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Rand Paul, R-Ky., have introduced legislation aimed at giving federal judges more discretion in applying mandatory minimums to certain drug offenders.

   Holder said new approaches — which he is calling the "Smart On Crime" initiative — are the result of a Justice Department review he launched early this year.

   The attorney general said some issues are best handled at the state or local level and said he has directed federal prosecutors across the country to develop locally tailored guidelines for determining when federal charges should be filed, and when they should not.

   "By targeting the most serious offenses, prosecuting the most dangerous criminals, directing assistance to crime 'hot spots,' and pursuing new ways to promote public safety, deterrence, efficiency and fairness — we can become both smarter and tougher on crime," Holder said.

   The attorney general said 17 states have directed money away from prison construction and toward programs and services such as treatment and supervision that are designed to reduce the problem of repeat offenders.

   In Kentucky, legislation has reserved prison beds for the most serious offenders and refocused resources on community supervision. The state, Holder said, is projected to reduce its prison population by more than 3,000 over the next 10 years, saving more than $400 million.

   He also cited investments in drug treatment in Texas for non-violent offenders and changes to parole policies which he said brought about a reduction in the prison population of more than 5,000 inmates last year. He said similar efforts helped Arkansas reduce its prison population by more than 1,400. He also pointed to Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Hawaii as states that have improved public safety while preserving limited resources.

   Holder also said the department is expanding a policy for considering compassionate release for inmates facing extraordinary or compelling circumstances, and who pose no threat to the public. He said the expansion will include elderly inmates who did not commit violent crimes and who have served significant portions of their sentences.

Published in National News
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A prison watchdog says the need for inmate space in Illinois is "trumping security" as officials announced they plan to set up temporary bed space in a half-dozen mostly medium-security prisons.

The change was announced yesterday in a letter from the Department of Corrections to the main employee union.

John Maki of the prison observer John Howard Association says the six prisons targeted - in Centralia, Danville, Hillsboro, Canton, Vienna and Vandalia - are among the state's most crowded.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees says the planned closure of the Dwight prison is forcing the move.

Corrections spokeswoman Stacey Solano says prison gymnasiums will be used temporarily for minimum-security inmates. She would not comment specifically on the reason for the move.
Published in Local News

Latest News

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
Prev Next
Wainwright's 2-hitter leads Cards past Nats 8-0

Wainwright's 2-hitter leads Cards past Nats 8-0

  WASHINGTON (AP) -- Adam Wainwright threw a two-hitter Thursday night for his seventh career shutout, chipped in at the plate with a double and single, and St. Louis b...

Judge weights dismissal of lawsuit against Dan Rutherford

Judge weights dismissal of lawsuit against Dan Rutherfo…

CHICAGO (AP) - A federal judge has delayed a decision about granting Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford's request to throw out a lawsuit filed against him by a former employee. ...

Missouri lawmakers take on e-cigarette restrictions

Missouri lawmakers take on e-cigarette restrictions

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri House and Senate have each passed bills that would prevent people younger than 18 from purchasing electronic cigarettes.    ...

Man admits to burning dog in 2013

Man admits to burning dog in 2013

St. Louis, MO (KTRS) - A St. Louis man is headed to prison for burning a dog so badly, that the animal had to be put down.   Wesley Reid appeared in court Thursday ...

Illinois jobless rate at lowest level in five years

Illinois jobless rate at lowest level in five years

CHICAGO (AP) - State officials say unemployment in Illinois dropped in March to 8.4 percent. That's its lowest level since 2009.      The Illinois Departm...

Illinois gives early OK to $100M for Obama museum

CHICAGO (AP) - An Illinois House committee has advanced a plan to devote $100 million in state funds to help bring President Barack Obama's presidential museum and library to Ch...

Steve Stenger Nabs Labor Endorsement

St. Louis, MO --  Councilman Steve Stenger announced Thursday that he has received the St. Louis Labor Council's endorsement in the race for St. Louis County Executive. &nb...

America stands with Kansas City mourners

America stands with Kansas City mourners

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) - Attorney General Eric Holder says all Americans are standing with the mourners of three people killed at Jewish community sites in suburban Kansas Cit...

© 2013 KTRS All Rights Reserved