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
new & notable November 27, 2015
The incarceration rate for women in the U.S. is twice the rate of China and nearly four times as high as Russia's, researchers found.
new & notable November 26, 2015
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commentary November 25, 2015
The Justice Department has played a major role since 1994 in forcing police to reform. How do we measure its achievements?
new & notable November 24, 2015
As states begin to implement criminal justice reforms, judges and prosecutors will likely start to use risk and needs assessment informat...
November 21, 2015
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November 20, 2015
Local political races and smarter policing are key to justice reform, a Washington conference is told.
November 19, 2015
Sen. Gary Peters tells criminologists meeting in Washington that the odds are improving for a "top to bottom" review of the justice system.