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Obama: We must reconsider sentencing of non-violent drug offenders

Thursday, July 16, 2015 - 01:46

U.S. President Barack Obama visits the El Reno Federal Penitentiary in Oklahoma to deliver remarks on the criminal justice system. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: U.S. President Barack Obama, during the first-ever visit to a federal prison for a president, said the country must reconsider how it sentences non-violent drug offenders if it wants to tackle the issue of an expensive criminal justice system with overcrowding prisons. "The United States accounts for five percent of the world's population. We account for 25 percent of the world's inmates, and that represents a huge surge since 1980," Obama told reporters. "A primary driver of this mass incarceration phenomenon is our drug laws, our mandatory minimum sentencing around drug laws." Obama this week has focused much of his attention on justice reform, saying the country needed to reduce overly harsh prison terms for nonviolent crimes that have been disproportionately applied to minorities. The rate of people in jail in the United States on any given day was 231 per 100,000 in 2013, up from 96 per 100,000 three decades earlier as drug sentences became more severe, according to federal data.

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Obama: We must reconsider sentencing of non-violent drug offenders

Thursday, July 16, 2015 - 01:46