TribLIVE

| Opinion/The Review

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Mandatory minimums: Reforms overdue, but ...

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Letters home ...

Traveling abroad for personal, educational or professional reasons?

Why not share your impressions — and those of residents of foreign countries about the United States — with Trib readers in 150 words?

The world's a big place. Bring it home with Letters Home.

Contact Colin McNickle (412-320-7836 or cmcnickle@tribweb.com).

Daily Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013, 2:27 p.m.
 

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.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Editorials

  1. Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances
  2. Greensburg Laurels & Lances
  3. Alle-Kiski Laurels & Lances
  4. The Brady affair: Contract law
  5. Regional growth
  6. So, where’s the I-70 ‘Welcome to Pennsylvania’ sign on the Pa.-W.Va. border?
  7. Intrepid salute
  8. The Thursday wrap
  9. Medicare @ 50: Sick, getting sicker
  10. The Box
  11. Yes, the IRS targeted conservatives