WASHINGTON – Attorney General Eric Holder said this week that the Justice Department will no longer push mandatory minimum sentences for some low-level, nonviolent drug offenses, as long as the individual being sentenced offered to share some of his or her stash with the arresting officers.
“Too many Americans go to too many prisons for far too long, and for no truly good law enforcement reason,” announced Holder, questioning elements of the criminal justice system’s long-running War on Drugs. “When a S.W.A.T. team breaks down someone’s door only to find the guy getting high on his own supply, there’s no reason to waste taxpayer time and money on incarcerating the individual in question. Especially if he’s happy to share some of his kind bud with everyone to help chill the room.”
The centerpiece of Holder’s proposal is to seriously lighten up on people with no ties to large-scale operations, gangs or cartels, saying they would no longer be subject to the type of ‘draconian mandatory minimum sentences.’ A policy that sent a 46 year-old man who’d lost his eye to prison for 25 years for offering to sell some of his painkillers to a friend who claimed to also be in pain but who, in fact, turned out to be a police informant.
“When I heard about that, I was all, ‘see! The dude was just trying to spread the joy to his friend and he gets 25 big ones!’” said Holder, growing emotional. “That’s bogus!”
Holder went on to point out that, in large part due to the nation’s War on Drugs, the U.S. prison population has grown by almost 800% since 1980, and federal prisons are operating at nearly 40% above capacity. “We’re stuffing them in like sardines when all they wanted to do was pass the Dutchie on the left hand side. That stops today!”
Laura Murphy, director of the Washington legislative office of the American Civil Liberties Union, praised the news, calling it an important step forward in ending prison overcrowding, creating a “fairer criminal justice system,” and helping millions of people get a toke or two on the joint even if they’re hard-up for cash at the moment.