In a three-page memo to all 94 U.S. Attorneys’ offices around the country, Holder said rising prison costs have resulted in reduced spending on law enforcement agents, prosecutors and prevention and intervention programs.
“These reductions in public safety spending require us to make our public safety expenditures smarter and more productive,” the memo stated.
In some cases where a defendant is not an organizer, leader, manager or supervisor of others, “prosecutors should decline to pursue charges triggering a mandatory minimum sentence,” Holder’s memo stated.
In his speech to the ABA, the attorney general said “we need to ensure that incarceration is used to punish, deter and rehabilitate — not merely to convict, warehouse and forget.”
Holder said new approaches — which he is calling the “Smart On Crime” initiative — are the result of a Justice Department review he launched early this year.
Associated Press writer Paul Elias reported from San Francisco. AP writer Maryclaire Dale in Philadelphia contributed to this report.