Change in Charges for Non-Violent Offenses?

, Written by RaeAnn Christensen, Posted: Mon, August 12 2013 at 7:06 PM, Updated: Mon, August 12 2013 at 7:12 PM

Oregon legislators say by say slowing the growth of prison population, it will save taxer payers more than $326 million dollars over the next 10 years.
 
And now today, it's something that is being looked at on a federal level as well.

Attorney General Eric Holder says a policy change from the government's 1980's War on Drugs is crucial right now.

Holder says "it is well past time to implement common sense changes that will foster safer communities from coast to coast."

A policy Holder says increased federal prison population by 800%.        

Here in Oregon, Rep. Peter Buckley says, "we spend far too much on incarceration in the nation and the state."

The prison system is our most expensive public safety asset.

That's why Representative Buckley supports legislation aimed at keeping only violent and career criminals behind bars.
For non-violent offenders Buckley says "if we can do a diversion programs, invest more in drug and alcohol programs, invest more in mental health programs as well to get people off the track of addiction, we could save money and help save peoples lives."

Hope is, this will help stop crime from happening in the first place.

Holder said today "Too many Americans go to too many prisons for far too long, and for no truly good law enforcement reason."

There are roughly 25,000 drug convictions in Federal Court each year and 45% of those are for lower level offenses.

These changes Holder is asking for are already implemented on a state level here in Oregon.

He wants judges to be given more flexibility on sentencing.     

Buckley says "this change I think is going to be good for justice, but also very good in holding down the cost for Federal Government.

The justice department reports that the federal system is 40% over capacity with more than 220,000 inmates eating up 25% of the justice budget.

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About the Author

RaeAnn Christensen

NBC 5 News Reporter and Weather Forecaster RaeAnn Christensen earned a Bachelors degree from Weber State University, majoring in Communications and Broadcast Journalism.

RaeAnn started her career as a Producer for two local stations where she grew up in Utah. Working for the NBC affiliate in Salt Lake City, she won local awards for producing, and also became an Emmy award winning producer.

RaeAnn enjoys traveling, hiking, biking, cooking, country dancing, and spending time with her family and friends.

Catch RaeAnn's weekend weather forecasts for Southern Oregon and Northern California Saturdays and Sundays at 6pm and 11pm. Also online at KOBI5.com/Weather

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