Calls for Sentencing Reform in the War on Drugs

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On Wednesday, the attorney general, Eric Holder, stated “the war on drugs is now 30.. 40 years old. There have been a lot of unintended consequences. There’s been a decimation of certain communities, in particular communities of color.” Holder is spearheading sentencing reform and expects speak on the proposals in a speech to American Bar Association in San Francisco, next week.

Holder is not the only one calling for sentencing reform. Two senators Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin and Utah Republican Mike Lee, are promoting a bill called the Smarter Sentencing Act of 2013- a law to lower mandatory minimums for several drug crimes as well as reduce overcrowding in the prison system by 40 percent capacity. In addition, Republican Rand Paul and Vermont Democrat Patrick Leahy are moving their own bill- the Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013. Their bill differs by focusing on giving judges more power to impose lower sentences to all crimes, not solely drug crimes.


Featured image courtesy of [Kate Ter Haar via Flickr]

Ashley Powell
Ashley Powell is a founding member of Law Street Media, and its original Lead Editor. She is a graduate of The George Washington University. Contact Ashley at



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