Where in Canada, crime is at an all time low, Steve wants to fill the prisons.
U.S. to soften guidelines for drug sentences in face of US$80-billion a year costs and overcrowded prisons | National Post
Washington — The U.S. government plans to curb the “unsustainable” growth of its prison population by abandoning harsh mandatory sentences for drug offenders and releasing some elderly inmates.
Eric Holder, the Attorney General, said the United States could no longer afford US$80-billion a year, nor the “human and moral costs”, that come with holding the world’s largest number of prisoners.
“Too many Americans go to too many prisons for far too long and for no good law enforcement reason,” Mr. Holder told a legal conference in San Francisco Monday
“We cannot simply prosecute or incarcerate our way to becoming a safer nation.”
The roughly 2-million inmates in the U.S. represent a quarter of the world’s prisoners, although America makes up only 5% of the global population. Both Democrats and Republicans agree that the rate of incarceration, around six times higher than China’s, cannot be maintained.
Outlining a major shift in U.S. drug policy, Mr Holder said that non-violent drug offenders would no longer be charged with crimes that lead to automatic prison time known as “mandatory minimum sentences”.
Legislation passed at the height of the Eighties “War on Drugs” mandates a five-year prison sentence for possession of five grams of crack cocaine, a drug common in poor black communities.
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The law mandates the same sentence for possession of 500 grams of powder cocaine, a drug more often found in affluent white circles.