AG Holder is re-thinking the War on Drugs.

The Justice Department is overhauling the way they deal with non-violent offenders. Today, Attorney General Eric Holder unveiled a plan to change how the federal government prosecutes drug offenders. The goals of his plan are to ease prison overcrowding, save taxpayer money, and limit the use of unjust mandatory minimum sentences. Holder's prepared remarks say, “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.”

Attorney General Holder wants to create local guidelines to determine which cases should be subject to federal charges, and he wants to work with Congress to give federal judges more discretion in applying harsh mandatory minimum sentences. It's unclear if these suggested changes are a direct result of several states decriminalizing marijuana, or if Eric Holder and the Justice Department are simply looking for a better way to handle drug-related crime.

Our current drug policy has led to soaring prison populations, sky-rocketing taxpayer costs, and huge profits for the private prison industry. Holder's remarks say that the changes he's suggesting could save our nation billions of dollars in prison costs, and he's even considering a plan to ease prison over-crowding by releasing inmates who “pose no threat to the public.” These changes could have a huge impact on how our nation deals with drugs, and reduce the number of people subjected to the for-profit prison industry.

Many Americans have called for similar changes to our Justice System for decades, and they'll be thrilled to see some common sense in our drug policy. It's unlikely that the for-profit prison industry and their shills in Congress will support this plan, but the majority of Americans agree with Eric Holder's desire to wind down Nixon's ill-conceived War on Drugs.

Comments

Carson L's picture
Carson L 9 years 25 weeks ago
#1

Numbers are up for prisons and down for enlistment. What better way to reform someone than giving them like a year long bootcamp? Fail to pass boot camp, go back to prison. Next. Can't we just start with nonviolent yet long term convicts by offering them a significant deduction in their prison sentence for their non-compensated service in our military? Naturally I would disagree with giving them weapons or control of any weapon systems and throwing them out on the front lines. But fortunately, I'm not certain on this number, but approximately 80% of the work done in all branches of the military are not weapon related. With time, those good men who were raised with terrible ideas and examples, who made bad choices at a very young age (as do us all) and got convicted for it, will begin to reenlist and run these boot camps and become the co's of such pre-enlisted level of service. Also, this could be an excellent way for convicts to provide for their children while serving the time for their crimes. Maybe their children could be allowed to stay with them at speacial, sentence enlistment barracks. It's the children we need to be worried about, as long as they're left out on the streets with no guidance then they will continue to make bad desicions. This also could drastically change the severity of penalty dealt out for especially non violent offenders, as in Bad Bankers. Knowing that whistle blowing on your rich boss will land him in the slammer getting god knows what done to his body vs. knowing that whistle blowing on your boss will land him in a system for much needed reform on his thought processes concerning the value of other peoples lives might be just the kind of approach we've been missing to let justice naturally float to the top where it desires and deserves to be.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 25 weeks ago
#2

Duh!! Did Holder just come up with this idea on his own? Did it come to him in a dream or was it in his fortune cookie? Did one of his nephews just get busted with a joint? Give me a break! This should have been one of the first priorities of the Obama Administration when he took office. In fact, Clinton should have done it when he first took office. For that matter, Carter had a chance and screwed up too. He even came out and said that, "Penalties for using drugs should not be worse that the consequences of the drugs themselves." How many thousands of innocent nonviolent young men and women have suffered needlessly during the past 33 years of this stupid war against the people? How many millions of dollars have been squandered? How much damage has this done to the psychology of a generation of ex cons?

I do hope that part of Holder's plan is to release current nonviolent drug offenders as much as curb future prosecution.

Don't get me wrong! I am ecstatic that someone in power has the wherewithal finally to do something about a great injustice. However, I have no choice but to be suspicious about the motive for this move. Everyone is aware that these laws are immoral, tyrannical, and unconstitutional. I certainly hope that there isn't an underlying seriously malevolent motive.

Carson L ~ Makes an excellent point. Now, with little jobs available, especially for ex cons, this is the perfect opportunity for the military to jump on this prison exodus in order to fuel their military machine. Historically tyrants have always had huge prison populations and resorted to them for their military when the loyalty in the citizenry started to wear out. I wouldn't be at all surprised to learn that this is one of the big motives behind immigration reform as well. Sudden realization that the current drug laws are wrong is just not a notion that I can buy. Nice gesture; but, like with everything else this corporatocracy does, there must be some profit reason behind it.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 9 years 25 weeks ago
#3

I like the Swiss way. Draft everyone for 1 year of service followed by free college education.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 25 weeks ago
#4
Quote chuckle8:I like the Swiss way. Draft everyone for 1 year of service followed by free college education.

chuckle8 ~ That is really a great idea! It has the added benefit that in this country with all the foreign illegal wars that such a policy would quickly lead to a rebellion. What better way to keep the government and military honest. A splendid idea! Just make sure wealthy kids have to serve too. Make sure you draft everyone and not just kids that can't afford an education!

Martyz42's picture
Martyz42 9 years 25 weeks ago
#5

Bottom line here is reslly simple. Like Everything the Obama people do, it's half way at best. NO ONE should be in jail for pot, no one should be in jail for victimless crimes, banksters & Wall Streeters should be made totally poor by fines & so on. People in the country illegally should be after conviction should be sent back to their country of origin. Our prison population should be cut by at least 75%.... Obama should stand before the people & say simply, POT is not illegal.


dglsdxn 9 years 25 weeks ago
#6

It's about God-Damned time something has been said about this! And no need to simply stop there! This whole "War on Drugs" line of insanity has completely ruined this country's finicance's, famiies, and tied-up countless hundreds of thousands of court-hours. I personally know of a man that has in five (5) years in a county jail fighting a drug-related charge in which no drugs were even found! It's time we stop 'warehousing' people so private as well as state institutions can no longer profit off of inhuman/unjust incarcerations. This bull-shit is something you'd read about from some third-world country, not in the "Land of the Free"!

Willie W's picture
Willie W 9 years 25 weeks ago
#7

Common sense at work here. The stupid party will fight it.

Luis_L.'s picture
Luis_L. 9 years 25 weeks ago
#8

If Holder does indeed issue new guidelines for sentencing and prosecuting drug offences he needs to take it one step further and remove the financial incentive to incarcerate people by stopping the privatization of prisons in the U.S. Else the powers that be will just move to criminalize other activities and behaviors. The right will just not allow their corporate friends to not make a profit.

akunard's picture
akunard 9 years 25 weeks ago
#9

About time!

delster's picture
delster 9 years 25 weeks ago
#10

Republicans and libertarian upper middle class pot smokers in their late fifties and early sixties should be thrilled. Lawyer and doctor bud will no longer be a threat to them or their kids. The government will no longer be intruding into their lives privately regarding pot. Frankly I think all drugs should be legal and dispensed (sold) and managed by something like OLCC. At the same time rehabilitation should be widely available to anyone who desires. I work in a branch of the alcohol service industry. I am not a drinker myself but I observe the number of both upscale and poverty alcoholism running rampant. Especially among affluent patrons of the wine industry. The mental depression of the average US citizens is really alarming. Seems everyone is drunk or drunk and stoned and concaine is more prevalent now than in the disco era. It is time for alternative management.

Peadge 9 years 25 weeks ago
#11

For far too long we've waged a war on people who ostensibly "abuse" drugs, unable to differentiate between use and abuse, while ignoring completely or even subsidizing drugs that abuse people, especially alcohol and tobacco. Tobacco has historically been one of the highest subsidized crops in all of agriculture, getting far more in subsidies that food crops.

Another change I would like to see is in the obtuse Controlled Substance Act, Currently the power to schedule drugs as harmful, having no medical value and/or having a high potential for abuse is given to lawyers. The Act itself falls under the powers of the Attorney General. I'd like to see the scheduling power be given to doctors and the Act moved over to the control of the Surgeon General, admitting "drug abuse" is a medical problem, not a law enforcement problem. Putting drug users in prison makes no sense as inside our prisons is where the highest per capita use of illegal drugs occurs.

Around the time the Controlled Substance Act went into effect, at least one of Nixon's children had been busted for drugs, pot I believe. So in order not to appear soft on drugs, Nixon made sure these powers weren't given to doctors because doctors could easily be swayed by those annoying things called "facts" that could disrupt policy. Policy all along has seemed to favor the profits that a Black Market paradigm can generate. In the 1970s, the illegal drug trade was a $400 million per year industry. By 1980, it had grown ten fold to a $4 billion per year industry. By 1990, another order of magnitude increase brought it up to a $40 billion per year industry. Today, its over a $400 billion per year industry.

Even our presence in Afghanistan has allowed for the doubling of the heroin industry. Prior to our invasion, the Taliban had destroyed 90% of the opium poppies. Today, heroin production has doubled from its pre-invasion high to an $88 billion industry.

I have suspicians that the drones "patrolling" our southern border are really just elaborate ways to traffic drugs and money back and forth across the border. All the while looking as if we're preventing illegal aliens from entering our country.

Several banks have already been indicted in laundering drug money. And it would seem ignorant to think that banksters wouldn't have their fingers deeply sunk into the drug trade with hundreds of billions of tax free money to be manipulated.

On the flip side, drug users do make good employees, often being promoted faster than non users in the private sector. So our Corporate Prisons may suffer a lapse in quality and productivity, but it may move those things closer to the wages they pay, if any.

Ten times as many people die playing Bingo than die from all illegal drugs combined. Yet conspicuous by its absence is any decades long "War on Bingo." The vast majority of illegal drugs being "used or abused" aren't even lethal. The CIA were giving 30,000 hits of LSD to one person!

dianhow 9 years 25 weeks ago
#12

Holder is late to the 'party' Whatever his motves I agree Prisons are for Violent criminals, murderers, rapists, armed robbers. ' Small time ' drug users Do not need to be in jail at huge Taxpayer expense ! Instead they should serve our country ,do public service .

Drug treatment / rehab.. whatever. Politicians just LOVE to TAKE , WASTE or STEAL OUR MONEY ! . Americans are sick to death of them !!!!

dianhow 9 years 25 weeks ago
#13

Great post

dianhow 9 years 25 weeks ago
#14

AGREED !!!

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 25 weeks ago
#15

Draft them for community service but not for the military... even if they were treated rough and have a mean old drill sergeant as long as there is no obligation to send these people off to yet another war. An abundance of soldiers will only encourage the politicians to invade some other countries. And it looks like they are trying real hard to make a case for invading Iran right now. In fact, I wouldn't be too surprised if this rift between Russia and the US right now over Snowden and over differences in Syria will grow into another cold war...their "terrorists" theatrics is wearing thin and starting to be questioned by a lot of people so they may just try reverting back to Russia as our new enemy. There wouldn't be any wars if the war mongers didn't have armies to sacrifice.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 25 weeks ago
#16
Quote Peadge:I have suspicians that the drones "patrolling" our southern border are really just elaborate ways to traffic drugs and money back and forth across the border. All the while looking as if we're preventing illegal aliens from entering our country.

Interesting idea! After all Air America was used to transport drugs into the US during Vietnam.

Quote Peadge:Ten times as many people die playing Bingo than die from all illegal drugs combined. Yet conspicuous by its absence is any decades long "War on Bingo." The vast majority of illegal drugs being "used or abused" aren't even lethal. The CIA were giving 30,000 hits of LSD to one person!

Interesting! ;-}

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 25 weeks ago
#17
Quote DAnneMarc: Duh!! Did Holder just come up with this idea on his own? Did it come to him in a dream or was it in his fortune cookie?

He was obviously smoking something funny?
Maybe, since Snowden's revelations about the NSA spying on every one of us, including all the Congress People, Holder himself, and Pres Obama, they now realize that many of them could very easily get put into prison for smoking dope.

JA JR's picture
JA JR 9 years 25 weeks ago
#18

The problem driving the move to reduce prison population is the cost of operating prisons which has added greatly to the financial problems for the states and the Federal prison systems. It is popular now to ease up on marijuana question so it is easy to suggest this angle to reduce the population and thus reduce the cost by easing up on this crime. The problem is not that simple to solve. The prison industrial complex will not allow any movement to reduce prison populations. This is one of the only growth industries left and it has tremendous clout. They continuously lobby to create new laws that will put more people in prison. They want more prisons built and Prison Guards Union wants more jobs. I expect that Eric Holder's pronouncement will fade out quickly as soon as the prison lobbyists have their say. You can expect a torrent of fear based arguements about how dangerous it will be to allow all those dopers on the street.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 9 years 25 weeks ago
#19

A couple weeks ago one of my outbuildings got broke into..... again...... nothing new on my farm since Republican trickle down poverty has kicked in full throttle. Local law enforcement sent out an investigator as usual, a guy I used to run against 40 years ago in high school track, which was a pleasant surprise. Anyway we got talking and he mentioned that big city gangs have been moving into the rural communities nearby and that the cops around here don't even bother with pot related crimes anymore.....it's off the radar compared to the new problems, like a recent gang shooting death I hadn't even been aware of.

Instead of a war on mind altering drugs, how about a war on the mind altering right wing bad trips known as Limpbaugh, Beck, FOX, etc. Many citizens never return to reality even after light exposure to these substances.

bobcox's picture
bobcox 9 years 25 weeks ago
#20

I'm sure the tobacco companies would like to see
pot legalized and allow them to manufacture pot
cigarettes. The tax revenue plus the diminished
DEA expense and prosecution expenses and the cost
of prisons to hold pot dealers would further
reduce the Federal debt. Furthermore the result
would be far less debilitating to the moral state
of the US.!

MMmmNACHOS's picture
MMmmNACHOS 9 years 25 weeks ago
#21

The Bell FINALLY Tolls for reforming Draco Federal Sentencing Guide Lines.

3 Cheers for F.A.M.M.!!!
(Families Against Mandatory Minimums) An organization that has been hard at work for the past 20+ years loddying Congress and informing everyday Americans about how harmfull such mandated sentences are to our society. Such Draco Laws do not allow a Judge to "judge" each case seperatley and apply appropreate sentences that fit the crime.

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