Congressman Chaka Fattah, Senior Democrat on the House Appropriations Subcommittee Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) which oversees the Justice Department releases the following statement regarding new sentencing guidelines released today by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder:
"I commend Attorney General Holder for taking a necessary step in announcing the Justice Department's resolve to change the way it prosecutes low-level drug offenders. Reducing the sentences of non-violent criminals who have no ties to organized crime or gangs will make our severe mandatory sentencing more just, provide a better chance of their rehabilitation and reduce the prison population.
"It's time to provide low-level offenders with avenues to help in restoring them to being productive citizens. Whether through community service programs or drug treatment facilities there are alternate measures -- other than prison - that will be more beneficial to them and to society in the long run.
"In the 2014 CJS spending bill we included language to set up a bipartisan prison reform taskforce to find more solutions like those advocated by Attorney General Holder. This taskforce will look into ways to reduce overcrowding and violence, institute more rehabilitation and employment programs and develop better reentry plans to help reduce the rate of recidivism.
"The work of the task force will result in new, innovative ideas to old challenges. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle on this important issue. And I applaud the Attorney General for his leadership and encourage all States to follow his direction in moving us toward a fairer criminal justice system."