US wants major changes to criminal justice system
WASHINGTON (AP) - The US faces massive overcrowding in its prisons, and the Obama administration is calling for major changes to the nation's criminal justice system that would cut back the use of harsh sentences for certain drug-related crimes.
In remarks prepared for delivery on Monday to the American Bar Association, Attorney General Eric Holder also favours sending people convicted of low-level offences to drug treatment and community service programmes instead.
"We need to ensure that incarceration is used to punish, deter and rehabilitate - not merely to convict, warehouse and forget," Holder says in the speech.
Critics of the justice system have long said drug sentencing laws have taken a toll on the country's black population.