The Takeaway: Will Holder’s New Policy on Drug Sentences Transform Criminal Justice?

For nearly 30 years, being “tough on crime” was been part and parcel of successful political campaigns, and in the mid-1980s, Congress began enacting mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses. After that the prison population exploded and some experts shook their heads at what they considered to be misguided drug policy.

But as Attorney General Eric Holder made clear in his speech yesterday, all that is about to change.

Mandatory minimums revolutionized the justice system, so how will Holder’s new guidelines transform criminal justice today?

Robin Steinberg, Executive Director of the Bronx Defenders and Bryan Stevenson, Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative, explore the consequences of Holder’s announcement.