AG Holder: New crack law should shorten some terms

By the Associated Press | June 1, 2011 | 9:59 AM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder says some prisoners incarcerated for crack cocaine offenses should benefit from a new law that lowers crack sentences.

Holder testified Wednesday before the U.S. Sentencing Commission, which oversees federal sentencing guidelines.

The commission is considering making a change that would reduce the sentence of some inmates previously incarcerated on crack offenses by an average of three years. The change could bring an earlier release for as many as one out of every 18 federal prisoners, or approximately 12,000 inmates.

Holder told the commission that he supported the earlier release dates. But he said prisoners who used weapons in committing their crimes or who have significant criminal histories should be prohibited from getting reduced sentences.