Obama Administration Endorses Reducing Sentences For Drug Offenders05:14

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Attorney General Eric Holder is throwing his weight behind a proposal to reduce federal prison sentences for drug offenders. The changes would help to lower the federal prison population, which has swelled to more than 200,000 in the last three decades.

Holder testified today in Washington in support of the changes. Mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes were created in the 1980s during the crack cocaine epidemic. Currently, offenders convicted of drug crimes make up half of those incarcerated in the federal system.

Julie Stewart, president and founder of Families Against Mandatory Minimums, testified today in support of the sentencing reforms. She joins Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson. Others at today's hearing testified against the reforms, saying it will compromise public safety.


This segment aired on March 13, 2014.