WASHINGTON â€” With the U.S. facing massive overcrowding in its prisons, Attorney General Eric Holder is calling for major changes to the nationâ€™s criminal justice system that would scale back the use of harsh sentences for certain drug-related crimes.
In remarks prepared for delivery to the American Bar Association in San Francisco, Holder also favors diverting people convicted of low-level offenses to drug treatment and community service programs and expanding a prison program to allow for release of some elderly, non-violent offenders.
â€œWe need to ensure that incarceration is used to punish, deter and rehabilitate â€” not merely to convict, warehouse and forget,â€ Holder says in the speech heâ€™s scheduled to deliver Monday.
In one important change, the attorney general is altering Justice Department policy so that low-level, non-violent drug offenders with no ties to large-scale organizations, gangs or cartels wonâ€™t be charged with offenses that impose mandatory minimum sentences.
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