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Attorney General Eric Holder (pictured) made an appeal Thursday to both sides of Congress to pass a new law aimed at giving judges more control over giving sentences for some federal drug crimes. The Smarter Sentencing Act, a bipartisan effort, will aid individuals who were charged under outdated drug laws and the like.

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Holder’s efforts are part of the Justice Department’s overall goal to improve the criminal justice system.

His latest plea, however, points directly to the law that judges reduce sentencing to match what occurs under the current Fair Sentencing Act.

From Attorney General Holder:

Our criminal justice system works only when all Americans are treated equally under the law.

That’s why, in 2010, Congress passed the landmark Fair Sentencing Act, marking the culmination of persistent efforts – with the leadership of President Obama – to reduce unjust disparities in sentencing for similar offenses involving different types of drugs.

Today, I’m urging Congress to pass common-sense reforms like the bipartisan Smarter Sentencing Act, introduced by Senators Dick Durbin and Mike Lee, which would give judges more discretion in determining appropriate sentences for people convicted of certain federal drug crimes.

This bill would also provide a new mechanism for some individuals – who were sentenced under outdated laws and guidelines – to petition judges for sentencing reductions that are consistent with the Fair Sentencing Act.

The law, sponsored by Illinois Senator Richard Durbin, and co-sponsored by Republican Senators Mike Lee and Paul Rand, is part of a series of reforms Attorney General Holder wants to see regarding mandatory-minimum sentencing that could save “billions of dollars” in prison costs.

See Attorney General Eric Holder’s message to Congress, regarding the Smarter Sentencing Act, here.

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