Attorney General Eric Holder says prison sentences for many convicted criminals are too long, especially the the mandatory prison terms federal and state governments require judges to impose for certain offenses, reports Politico. "Too many people go to too many prisons for far too long for no good law enforcement reason," Holder said in the prepared text of a speech to Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network in New York. "It is time to ask ourselves some fundamental questions about our criminal justice system. Statutes passed by legislatures that mandate sentences, irrespective of the unique facts of an individual case, too often bear no relation to the conduct at issue, breed disrespect for the system, and are ultimately counterproductive," Holder argued. "It is time to examine our systems and determine what truly works. We need to ensure that incarceration is used to punish, to rehabilitate, and to deter – and not simply to warehouse and forget." The attorney general said he was disturbed by indications that, in the federal justice system, African-American men are receiving longer sentences than white men, citing a "troubling report" from the United States Sentencing Commission in February.
TCR at a Glance
June 27, 2016
Arson convictions often rely on ‘expert’ forensic evidence. But the evidence can be unreliable.
June 24, 2016
The Crime Report celebrates Independence Day with a new look—and expanded services. Learn more from TCR Editor Stephen Handelman.
q & a June 23, 2016
A new book on a 1981 Klan lynching in Alabama offers a timely lesson for those grappling with unrelenting racism in the U.S.
new & notable June 22, 2016
Researchers find a correlation between childhood hunger and ‘interpersonal violence’ later in life.
new & notable June 21, 2016
Public order offenses, such as probation violations, accounted for 90 percent of the arrests between 2005-2010.
q & a June 20, 2016
A national park ranger uses nature, history and community service to widen the horizons of gang youth and other troubled kids—and p...
June 17, 2016
The Vera Institute launches an ambitious 18-month initiative next week to explore alternatives to mass incarceration.