Smart on Crime

On Aug. 12, 2013, the U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder, announced that those convicted of drug-related offenses that are not tied to drug gang or cartels will no longer be charged with mandatory and sometimes severe sentences. This proposal intends to cut down on our prison numbers. According to, the United States is responsible for 25 percent of the world’s prison population. A total of 5 percent are drug-related sentences. As a young adult, my first thought when coming across this article was “about time.” Meaning that I was not sure why it took so long to come to this proposal in the first place. I could not agree more with the statement Holder said in San Francisco the day the proposal was revealed. He stated that the United States “cannot incarcerate our way to becoming a safer nation.” He seeks to change the Justice Department policies so that the penalties will be most severe for those involved in violent drug trafficking, but not so much with those selling drugs to pay for their school textbooks. This proposal does not mean that there will no longer be some form of punishment for those involved in drug-related crimes. It means that those who are elderly and have served most of their sentences, those who are nonviolent, and those who pose no threat to the public will no longer face the now severe mandatory charges. Holder hopes to “target the most serious offenses, prosecute the most dangerous criminals, and pursue new ways to promote public safety…” according to In a country which I feel I have little to no voice in, I am finally pleased with something our government has proposed. I feel this is an important change to our criminal system, as well as one of the fairest decisions our government could make.

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