People's fear of angering prosecutors by going to trial is real. Defendants who choose to exercise their constitutional rights to go to trial routinely face sentences three times greater than the original plea deals.
With a very heavy heart, as a mother and advocate for drug policy reform, I wish other mothers and fathers who are victims of the drug war a "happy" holidays -- but can one truly have a "happy" holidays when there's an empty chair at the family table?
Yesterday, Attorney General Eric Holder offered the Obama administration's most forceful critique to date of U.S. mass incarceration policies, at a meeting of the hemisphere's security ministers in Medellín, Colombia.
The Illinois House has adjourned without voting on pending legislation that would increase mandatory-minimum prison sentences for illegal gun possession. This is a victory for safe, smart, cost-effective criminal justice law and policy.
Which state will be next to legalize marijuana? What do the Obama administration's recent announcements about marijuana and mandatory minimums really mean? People will ponder these questions and many more at the International Drug Policy Reform Conference.
Standing on the tears, hearts, and hopes of our families, we want reform with justice, not a bargain with politicians that promises provisional status in exchange for a police state that exploits the detention and destruction of our families.
Attorney General Eric Holder's speech to the American Bar Association last Monday announcing critical reforms to the way the Department of Justice prosecutes and addresses drug crimes was historic and long overdue.
If Holder and his boss truly believe that our federal prisons are populated with large numbers of people who don't deserve to be locked up, there's something they could do immediately to change that: grant those people clemency.
Holder's remarks were unprecedented. No previous attorney general has even suggested that our drug policies might be wrong, let alone racist. The question before me is whether Holder's proposals amount to the needed radical change?
If the federal government recognizes that mandatory minimums are likely inappropriate sentences for nonviolent offenders, perhaps the states will follow suit, developing diversion programs, prison alternatives, and reasonable means for re-entry.