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Justice Department to make it easier to grant clemency for nonviolent drug offenders

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department will widen the criteria it uses to decide which drug offenders to recommend to the president for clemency, Attorney General Eric Holder said on Monday.

The department expects thousands of drug offenders currently serving time to be eligible for reduced sentences under the new clemency guidelines and it will prepare to review an influx of applications, Holder said in a video address.

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Under U.S. law, the president can reduce sentences or pardon Americans serving sentences for federal crimes. The Justice Department will now recommend more candidates for the president’s consideration.

Details of the new criteria will be announced later this week by Deputy Attorney General James Cole.

Holder hinted the guidelines may include applying a 2010 law that reduced sentences for crack cocaine offenders to those sentenced before the law was enacted.

“There are still too many people in federal prison who were sentenced under the old regime – and who, as a result, will have to spend far more time in prison than they would if sentenced today for exactly the same crime,” Holder said in his address.

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Granting clemency to nonviolent drug offenders is part of the Obama administration’s strategy to reduce spending on federal prisons by reducing the number of inmates serving time for nonviolent drug crimes.

Last year, Holder launched the “Smart on Crime” initiative to review the criminal justice system and look for ways to make spending on prisons more efficient by focusing on violent offenders.

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Some Republicans in Congress say more lenient sentences would reverse the drop in crime the United States has seen over recent decades.

In 2010, nearly half of 216,000 federal inmates were serving time for drug-related crimes, data from the Department of Justice shows.

(Reporting By Julia Edwards; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Trump will turn to these secret weapons in desperation if the economy collapses before the 2020 election

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President Donald Trump, in recent weeks, has been stressing both economic themes and culture war themes. The economic themes were evident during a rally in Manchester, New Hampshire on August 15, when Trump tried to frighten 401(k) owners into reelecting him and insisted, “You have no choice but to vote for me because your 401(k), everything is going to be down the tubes (under a Democratic president). So whether you love me or hate me, you’ve got to vote for me.” But if the U.S. does go into a recession in the months ahead, Trump will have a harder time selling himself as the salvation of the American economy — in which case, he would likely become even more aggressive in pushing divisive culture war themes.

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Pakistan PM Imran Khan calls on world to pay attention to India’s ‘fascist, racist Hindu supremacist ideology and leadership’

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Indian PM Narendra Modi reportedly rejected the comparison in a Monday phone conversation with US President Donald Trump

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday likened the Indian government to that of Nazi Germany in comments that represented the latest escalation in tensions between the two rivals that have been sent into overdrive over the disputed territory of Kashmir since India invaded the region in early August.

"India has been captured, as Germany had been captured by Nazis, by a fascist, racist Hindu Supremacist ideology and leadership," tweeted Khan. "This threatens 9 million Kashmiris under siege in [India-Occupied Kashmir] for over two weeks which should have sent alarm bells ringing across the world with U.N. Observers being sent there."

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RNC’s Ronna McDaniels scorched for calling Elizabeth Warren a ‘liar’: ‘Every word Trump utters is a lie’

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The Republican National Committee chairwoman faced swift backlash for calling Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) a liar for claiming Native American ancestry.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly slurred Warren as "Pocahontas" to mock claims about her background, and the Democratic presidential candidate apologized Monday to Native American tribal leaders for any harm she had caused by promoting DNA test results to prove native ancestry generations ago.

RNC chair Ronna McDaniel gleefully mocked the Democratic presidential candidate.

Elizabeth Warren by the numbers:

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