There were 864 press releases posted in the last 24 hours and 457,401 in the last 365 days.

AG Holder Announces DOJ prosecution reform at ABA Annual Meeting

SAN FRANCISCO (August 12, 2013) – U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced a major shift in Department of Justice policy to address overcrowding in the federal prison system during remarks at the American Bar Association 2013 Annual Meeting. The ABA has previously urged adoption of many of the changes announced today.

“Too many Americans go to too many prisons for too long for no good law enforcement reason,” Holder said.

The steps announced by Holder will result in greater reliance on state courts and local communities in handling low-level, nonviolent drug crimes and will increase use of drug-treatment programs in the federal system. Holder also announced expansion of the “compassionate release” program for early release of elderly prisoners who have served a substantial majority of their federal sentence.

“We have learned a lot since the widespread enactment of draconian, one-size-fits-all mandatory minimum sentencing laws in the 1980s. A growing number of states have enacted ’smart’ sentencing and corrections laws that place greater reliance on community-based resources, including drug courts, drug treatment, halfway houses and home confinement for low-level drug offenders. These changes have resulted in significant savings to taxpayers while fully protecting public safety,” ABA President Laurel G. Bellows said.

“The level of incarceration and the fiscal and human costs under current federal policies are unsustainable. Already, the growth in the budget for the Federal Bureau of Prisons is crowding out and resulting in the elimination of vital law enforcement programs. These changes outlined by Attorney General Holder today are welcome and much-needed steps toward bringing the federal system into line with smart, evidence-based policy that will better serve taxpayers and public safety.”

With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. To review our privacy statement, click here. Follow the latest ABA news at and on Twitter @ABANews.