WASHINGTON — In a reversal of George Bush Administration policies, Atty. Gen. Janet Reno said Monday she has directed a review of federal prosecution and sentencing policies to determine if low-level drug offenders are being forced to serve excessively lengthy prison terms.
Calling the issue a "significant priority," Reno said she wants department lawyers to examine . . . the impact mandatory minimum prison sentences--enacted as a means of deterring drug crimes--are having on the justice system.
"I have a concern because there may be situations in which minimum mandatories are causing federal offenders to serve 10 or 15 years for being minor participants on a drug boat deal," Reno said in an interview. Meanwhile, she said, "murderers, rapists and robbers in state courts are serving drastically reduced sentences because there are not enough prison cells."