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Justice Department Asks For Reduced Sentences for Less Serious Drug Offenders


The Justice Department is asking for changes to sentencing guidelines that would provide reduced or alternative sentences for less serious drug crimes, USA Today reports. The proposal would not lessen penalties for violent and repeat drug offenses.

Jonathan Wroblewski, Director of the Justice Department’s policy and legislation office, made the requests in an annual report sent to the U.S. Sentencing Commission, which sets sentencing policies for the federal courts. The Sentencing Commission reviews the policies annually, and considers whether to amend them.

“Violent crime in the United States is now near generational lows,” Wroblewski wrote. “At the same time, the U.S. prison population exploded and overall criminal justice spending with it.”

Many states have already implemented the types of changes recommended by the Justice Department, in reaction to prison overcrowding and budget cuts. They have implemented shorter sentences for non-violent offenders, and increased efforts to prevent repeat offenses.

“These changes have no doubt sprung in part out of budgetary necessity,” Wroblewski stated. “But they have also come from a growing understanding of new research into what works among various approaches to sentencing and corrections.”

1 Response to this article

  1. DEAN HALE / July 14, 2013 at 8:53 am

    Drug Courts are an excellent alternative and they work! If all the system does is incarcerate addicts who get arrested for possession or a crime committed to support their addiction NOTHING will change. We MUST treat the source of many of these arrests which is their addiction. Addiction is one of the few diseases that are addressed in this manner (through incarceration) and it is NOT working for these non-violent drug offenders who when incarcerated end up coming out worse than they were before they went in. Incarcerating these offenders is a financial strain on society and getting them treatment for the problem (their addiction) is much more cost effective and will yeild greater long-term results including recidivism rates and lowering the incident of non-violent criminal offenses through building on life skills and addiction education.

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