A Seattle program designed to keep low-level drug offenders and prostitutes out of jail is showing promise, a preliminary study suggests. The program, called Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion, provides housing, counseling, job training and other services.
Twenty-two drug offenders serving time in federal prison will be freed, the White House announced Tuesday. President Obama’s decision to commute the prisoners’ sentences builds on “his commitment to address instances of unfairness in sentencing,” White House Counsel Neil Eggelston said.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is scheduled to announce Tuesday that during the past year there was a 6 percent decrease in the number of federal drug trafficking prosecutions. The Associated Press reports prosecutors sought mandatory minimum sentences in 51 percent of cases, down from 64 percent the previous year.
A Drug Enforcement Administration program to track license plates, designed to combat drug trafficking, is being used for other purposes, The Wall Street Journal reports. The database is also being employed to search for vehicles associated with other crimes, including kidnappings and murders, according to the newspaper.
This year Medicare has started examining prescribing data to identify physicians who write large numbers of prescriptions for narcotic painkillers and stimulants. Next year Medicare will be able to kick doctors out of the program if they are found to be prescribing in abusive ways.
Now that four states have legalized recreational marijuana, the American Civil Liberties Union plans to turn its focus from legalization to decriminalizing drug possession, according to U.S. News & World Report.
A Senate bill sponsored by a Democrat and Republican who are normally on opposite ends of the political spectrum aims to help low-level drug offenders re-enter society. New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, a Democrat, and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, a Republican, are co-sponsors of The REDEEM Act.
More than 46,000 drug offenders will be eligible for early release from prison, after the U.S. Sentencing Commission voted to reduce terms for low-level drug traffickers who are already incarcerated. The vote was unanimous, NPR reports.
The Justice Department on Monday announced new clemency criteria, aimed at inmates who are serving time for nonviolent drug offenses. The goal is to reduce the nation’s federal prison population, the Associated Press reports.
A growing number of states are changing their approach to low-level drug users, emphasizing treatment instead of incarceration, according to The Washington Post. The change is a result of both reduced budgets and shifting views on drug use.
Researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas have found no increase in crime in states that legalized medical marijuana. They analyzed rates of murder, rape, assault, robbery, burglary, larceny and auto theft.
Republicans, who have traditionally taken a tough approach on crime, are increasingly opposing mandatory minimum sentences, The New York Times reports. They see the sentences as ineffective, as well as too costly and punitive.
Soon after Attorney General Eric Holder began making changes to drug laws, the number of drug defendants charged by the federal government dropped in January to its lowest monthly level in almost 14 years, according to a new report.
A new study concludes the Affordable Care Act could give an estimated 4 million people who have spent time in U.S. jails better access to health care, including coverage for treating substance abuse and mental illness.