Mandatory minimums: Reforms overdue, but ...
Indeed, we all should welcome the Justice Department's decision to allow for more prosecutory discretion in the sentencing of those involved in nonviolent, small-scale, non-gang-related drug cases.
The evidence has been clear for quite some time that mandatory minimum sentences that leave little room for extenuating circumstances to be considered as mitigating factors are anathema to justice.
Think of, as but one of many examples, the third party who unwittingly mails a drug-filled package and faces the same mandatory minimum time as the dealer. But think, too, of the inability to introduce alternatives to prison sentences into the equation.
One-size-fits-all sentencing does not fit all. And while it has done little to address the drug problem, it has done much to strain local, state and federal budgets and to overcrowd prisons, which serve as a breeding ground for more serious criminal behavior.
While prosecutors can make some of these changes on their own, other changes will require legislative action. And we urge Congress to act.
All this said, however, count us among those who question Attorney General Eric Holder's timing — in the fifth year of President Obama's tenure. Why did it take so long? If it's truly a matter of doing what's right, the changes could have been announced on Jan. 20, 2009.
Sadly, this is more a case of political expediency — employed to divert attention from the Obama administration's hardly “phony” scandals.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Greensburg Laurels & Lances
- Pittsburgh Tuesday takes
- The Thursday wrap
- Charter school pablum: Hillary Clinton misleads on education
- Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances
- The Gerard Mangis sentence: A criminal, coddled
- ‘Vetting’ refugees: A dubious U.N. link
- Cyber insecurity: The feds fail to protect the public’s data
- Greensburg Tuesday takes