Shorter sentences backed for some drug prisoners


WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department says a proposal that would shorten the prison sentences of drug criminals should apply to some, but not all, felons who are currently behind bars.

The U.S. Sentencing Commission has already approved a plan to lower the sentencing guideline ranges for federal drug offenses.

Attorney General Eric Holder on Tuesday called for the proposal to be applied retroactively for certain prisoners.

Among those who would not be eligible are felons who were given tougher sentences for having a dangerous weapon or for obstructing justice. The Justice Department says as many as 20,000 inmates could benefit.

The proposal is part of a broader rethinking of criminal justice policy. The Justice Department in April also revamped its clemency process to encourage more federal prisoners to apply for shorter sentences.

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