Major Shift in War on Drugs
Attorney General Eric Holder has ordered federal prosecutors to stop sweeping-up non-violent drug offenders and sentencing them to mandatory prison terms. It's a major shift in the war on drugs.
"We cannot simply prosecute or incarcerate our way to becoming a safe nation," said Holder.
The US Attorney General is concerned about disparities in the criminal justice system that unfairly hit poor and minority communities. He says his proposal will ease prison overcrowding and billions in prison costs.
"That would automatically reduce the sentencing to one year," said George Gascon, San Francisco DA. "I think it's the right thing to do."
But others worry that easing mandatory sentences for drug offenders could lead to an increase in crime.
"It remains to be seen how much that will likely reduce the crime rate," said Brad Garrett, a former FBI agent. "I guess it's reasonable to guess that it could go up a little bit."
Meanwhile in New York City, a federal judge ruling that the NYPD has violated the Constitutional rights of minorities by encouraging officers to stop-and-frisk "suspicious" individuals.
Minorities are outraged because 84-percent of those stopped by police are black or Latino males.
"The New York City Police Department now has to be part of the solution, because the judge has agreed with us that it was a big part of the problem," said Vince Warren, Center for Constitutional Rights.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his police commissioner say stop-and-frisk has saved lives and getting rid of it will make the city more dangerous. The judge appointed a federal monitor to oversee the NYPD.
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