WASHINGTON -- The Justice Department will avoid charging certain low-level and nonviolent drug offenders with crimes that carry mandatory minimums, Attorney General Eric Holder will announce Monday. The policy shift will allow certain defendants -- those without ties to large-scale organizations, gangs or cartels -- to avoid what Holder called "draconian mandatory minimum sentences."
Holder is also expected to announce that he's expanding efforts to reduce federal prison populations by releasing elderly prisoners sooner, by allowing local U.S. Attorneys not to prosecute some kinds of cases in federal court and by diverting 'low-level offenders' to programs that keep them out of hardcore federal prisons. The initiative is aimed at building on growing bipartisan momentum at the state level-and to a lesser intent in Congress-to retreat from some of the harshest anti-crime measures adopted in the 1980s and 1990s.
See also: http://www.politico.com/blogs/under-the-radar/2013/08/holder-moves-to-rein-in-mandatory-minimum-sentences-170360.html