Attorney General Eric Holder argued on Thursday for reduced sentences for many who are convicted of drug related offenses. Holder’s push is widely viewed as part of a comprehensive plan to reduce the ballooning prison population, but how seriously should his we take his efforts considering that President Obama is acting in ways that contradict Holder? Not very, I’d say.
Holder made a strong case while testifying before the U.S. Sentencing Commission.
“Certain types of cases result in too many Americans going to prison for far too long, and at times for no truly good public safety reason,” Holder told the commission. “Although the United States comprises just five percent of the world’s population, we incarcerate almost a quarter of the world’s prisoners.”
But if Holder is arguing and planning for reduced prison sentences in an effort to curb the inmate population, why is his boss, President Obama, planning for just the opposite?
Bruce Dixon from Black Agenda Report:
What Holder and the Obama administration will NOT discover is a way to reduce the budget of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, which grew 4% in this year of budgetary austerity. They won’t find a way to NOT open that new federal supermax prison in Illinois, or a way to close existing torture facility like the one Florence CO.
So while Obama is touting “My Brother’s Keeper”, he’s also funding a supermax in Chicago to house his brothers (with federal dollars, not charity). And the key thing here to keep in mind is that Obama is not being pushed into increasing the budget of the Bureau of Prisons by Republicans.
After the 2010 passage of the Fair Sentencing Act, and court decisions which say its provisions ought to be retroactive back to the 1980s, President Obama could have, as Margaret Kimberley pointed out two weeks ago, simply commuted the sentences of the 5,000, 10,000 or 12,000, depending on the degree of retroactivity applied…
Given that past behavior is often an adequate predictor of future action, it seems that Obama and Holder are again selling a bill of goods to a Black Community that so wants to believe that this administration will do some good before the time clock runs out in 2016. It may be time to throw in the gloves and admit what many know is true: Game Over.