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Mandatory Minimums Worked. Now They Must Go.

Aug. 15 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced this week that the Justice Department would significantly alter how nonviolent drug offenders are charged in order to circumvent mandatory minimum sentencing requirements.

Some will support the new policies because taking the amount of drugs associated with a crime out of consideration will reduce sentences, along with the U.S.’s high incarceration rate. Opponents will argue that stringent sentencing rules have helped bring down the violent-crime rate from the terrifying levels seen during the second half of the 20th century. And while lowering costs by reducing the prison population is attractive, some may worry that this is just cost-shifting: Individual citizens could suffer the consequences of victimization by those released under the new policies.