Today, Attorney General Eric H. Holder testified before the United States Sentencing Commission with the goal of reducing prison sentences for those convicted of dealing drugs, according to the New York Times. The proposal would decrease the average sentence of this population from 62 months down to 51 months.
The New York Times reports that the changes would affect the federal prison system where half of the 215.000 inmates are serving time due to drug crimes. If the proposed changes were implemented, the government estimates that the federal prison population would decrease by approximately 6, 550 throughout the next five years.
According to the article:
“This overreliance on incarceration is not just financially unsustainable,” Mr. Holder said. “It comes with human and moral costs that are impossible to calculate.”
The current status is that the Sentencing Commission (which writes the guidelines to be considered by the judges) is soliciting comments on the proposed sentencing reductions and will take a vote later in the spring on whether or not to move forward. The vote will most likely occur some time in April. If the reductions are approved, the changes would go into effect in November.