The U.S. Department of Justice announced Tuesday a proposal currently being examined by the U.S. Sentencing Commission that will pave the way for certain individuals who have been charged with nonviolent drug offenses to be eligible for reduced sentences. The news is the latest in a series of moves by the Justice Department to adjust the federal guidelines for drug offense sentencing and aims to lessen overlong sentences, prison overcrowding, and an overhaul of mandatory minimum sentencing.
Attorney General Eric Holder (pictured) used today’s announcement to urge the Sentencing Commission to consider the proposal. The Commission, which sets the guidelines for sentences given to federal criminal defendants, approved a proposal back in April to lower the base offenses connected to amount drugs the defendants were caught with as a result of trafficking charges.
In July, the Commission will vote on the proposal, which will lower base offenses by two levels and reduce sentences by 23 months on average. An added bonus of the proposal is that defendants already in prison will have the changes to their sentences applied retroactively.