ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER: U.S. prisons 'outsized', 'people of color' face harsher punishments

Monday, August 12, 2013 - 11:47am

On Monday, United States Attorney General, Eric Holder, held a press conference in San Francisco, in which he stated the U.S. prison population is "outsized and unnecessarily large."

Holder stated the purpose of incarceration is to punish, deter and rehabilitate, not to warehouse and forget.

Holder went on to say Americans should ask whether the "war on drugs" and related initiatives have been truly effective. He also took this time to plug the Obama administration efforts so far to usher in a new approach.

Holder ordered a change in the Justice Department polices, so that certain low-level, nonviolent drug offenders with no ties to large-scale organizations, gangs, or cartels will no longer be charged with crimes imposing "draconian mandatory minimum sentences."

The Attorney General was also quoted saying Americans "must confront the reality" that once "people of color" are in the criminal justice system, they "often face harsher punishments than their peers."

Holder said this is unacceptable, shameful and unworthy of the U.S. legal tradition. He has directed a group of U.S. attorneys to examine sentencing disparities, and to develop recommendations on how the AG's office can address them.


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