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Penalties for non-violent drug offenders could be reduced

Washington - Big changes could be on the way for how the feds prosecute drug crimes.

In remarks planned for an event today, Attorney General Eric Holder says there are plans to scale back the use of harsh prison sentences for some low-level drug-related crimes.

Under the new policy, the suggested sentence length for non-violent offenders without ties to gangs or cartels -- would be reduced.

He said drug treatment and community service would be more effective punishments.

Holder said mandatory minimum sentences in some cases are to blame for an 800 percent increase in the federal prison population since the 1980's.

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Washington Times