The current strict guideline system for sentencing violators of federal drug laws is drawing criticism from a former federal prosecutor.
“It had become such a formula-driven type of system, which isn’t justice,” said attorney Mike McCrum.
Now in private practice, McCrum had worked as a federal prosecutor here for 11 years.
McCrum praised a new program outlined by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday.
Holder’s plan would reduce mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines for nonviolent drug-related crimes.
“Prosecutors used to be under a mandate to prosecute everybody under those draconian and crazy laws that politicians came up with,” McCrum said.
Currently, anyone convicted of possession of an ounce of crack cocaine would be given a mandatory five-year prison term. There is no room for negotiation.
The Holder plan tracks what has been done in the Texas judicial system for many years.
Drug offenders are still being aggressively prosecuted in state district court, said Bexar County District Attorney Susan Reed.
“But also understand that there are some who have minor possessions, things like that,” said Reed. “Perhaps they are an addict and you can stop that from reoccurring by placing them under supervision and not in prison.”
Reed said the approach to drug offenders at the state level has helped ease prison overcrowding.
That is what Holder hopes to accomplish at the federal level.