Attorney General Eric Holder Urges Reduced Sentences For People with Nonviolent Drug Offenses

Press Release June 9, 2014
Media Contact

<p>Contact: Tony Newman 646-335-5384 or Tony Papa 646-420-7290</p>

The Department of Justice has thrown its support behind an initiative from the U.S. Sentencing Commission that would reduce sentences for potentially thousands of nonviolent drug offenders who are currently in federal prison.

Last month, the U.S. Sentencing Commission approved a proposal that will reduce sentences for future drug offenders. Attorney General Eric Holder has now announced his backing for a separate proposal by the Commission that would apply retroactivity to these recently reduced sentences.

The proposal could affect between 20,000 and 50,000 nonviolent offenders currently in jail, and save taxpayers an estimated $2.4bn.

Statement from Anthony Papa of the Drug Policy Alliance, who served 12 years under New York’s Rockefeller Drug Laws. Papa was given clemency by Gov. Pataki in 1997.

“As a former, first-time, nonviolent drug offender I applaud Attorney General Eric Holder for supporting the retroactive proposal being considered by the U.S. Sentencing Commission.  Many prisoners that would become eligible have paid their debt to society and deserve a second chance to be reunited with their families and become productive tax-paying citizens. This move would help correct sentencing laws that have broken our criminal justice system and led to the mass incarceration of many low-level nonviolent drug offenders.”

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

Sign up for updates from DPA.