To change our punishment economy to one that provides care, the state must move funding toward support. Funding that goes toward the militarization of police and prisons and jails should instead be reallocated to community-based programs, job training, education, health care and restorative justice initiatives.
No matter where you stand on the issues, you must concede that there will be extreme gridlock for the next two years: Congress will block President Obama's appointments, while in turn the president will use up a lot of ink with a steady stream of vetoes when Congress passes bills to undermine his agenda.
No one argues that a federal prosecutor's role is easy. And, in many ways, the revolution in prosecution requires them to make even more subtle and difficult judgments than they do already. But if the nation is to end mass incarceration, with a criminal justice system suited to that goal, we must collectively embrace the revolution in prosecution.
This move could result in the release of thousands of low-level federal inmates caught up in the drug war. For a president who, hitherto, had the most conservative pardon record in recent history (e.g. in Obama's first term, he pardoned 1 in 50 applicants, while Ronald Reagan pardoned 1 in 3), such a shift is noteworthy.