Attorney General Eric Holder plans to reduce the incarceration rate

August 12, 2013

Monday, August 12, 2013

Good morning to all our friends:

As I pointed out in my Friday post, Incarceration is the new slavery, we imprison more people than any other nation on the planet.

The numbers are mindboggling. In 1980, we incarcerated 220 people per 100,000. Over the next 30 years, that rate more than tripled such that by 2010, we incarcerated 716 people per 100,000. Among major countries, Russia is a distant second place at 484 people per 100,000. The incarceration rate for countries in the developed world averages around 100 per 100,000 with some countries incarcerating people at substantially lower rates.

The Obama administration is planning to reduce the incarceration rate.

In a speech today in San Francisco before the American Bar Association, Attorney General Eric Holder is going to announce a plan to accomplish that goal.

Reuters has the story:

“I have mandated a modification of the Justice Department’s charging policies so that certain low-level, nonviolent drug offenders who have no ties to large-scale organizations, gangs, or cartels, will no longer be charged with offenses that impose draconian mandatory minimum sentences,” Holder is expected to say, according to excerpts of his prepared remarks provided by the Justice Department.

The plan also will include provisions for the early release of “inmates facing extraordinary or compelling circumstances – and who pose no threat to the public.”

Remains to be seen how effective this plan will be in a nation where providing the appearance of a functioning government appears to be more important than getting anything done.

Turning to another topic, we are waiting to see whether the Department of Justice will decide to prosecute George Zimmerman. Somehow I missed this article by William Yeomans, titled Can federal charges be brought against Zimmerman?

I think Yeomans does a good job explaining the law and the procedure for deciding whether to prosecute. He served as Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s chief counsel on the Senate Judiciary Committee and as a Justice Department official. He is a fellow in law and government at American University College of Law in Washington D.C.


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