Major Shift in Drug Sentencing Won't Affect Local Charges

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Effective immediately, non-violent drug offenders will not see severe prison time. These are people not involved in drug cartels, gangs, and do not possess large amounts of drugs.

United States Attorney General Eric Holder announced Monday new changes to certain drug crimes. He wiped away the mandatory minimum sentences for low-level drug offenders.

"By targeting the most serious offenses, prosecuting the most dangerous criminals, directing assistance to crime hotspots and perusing new ways to promote public safety, deterrents, efficiency and fairness, we in the federal government can become both smarter and tougher on crime,ā€ said Holder.

However, this does not sit well with local law enforcement. Houston County Sheriff Andy Hughes said he does not feel right about giving drug users a free pass.

"Iā€™m not for giving them drug court every time they get caught with a joint or whatever the case may be. Eventually, these people need to see that there are consequences and there is jail time that has to be served if they're going to be a habitual drug offender,ā€ said Hughes.

Holder said the changes will also alleviate prison overcrowding, and ultimately, fight the "war on drugs." Sheriff Hughes said they will not affect local jails, or local arrests.

"The only cases that we work on a local basis here that will be affected by these new measures are cases that we work with the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the Drug Enforcement Administration or ICE."

If convicted in a federal court system, these offenders could see as little as rehabilitation or community service. If convicted locally, they will see jail time.

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