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U.S. Attorney Says Sequestration Cuts Could Make San Diego Less Safe

GUEST

Laura Duffy - United States Attorney for the Southern District of California.

Transcript

Sequestration was a big story earlier this year. Congress' failure to come to an agreement on government spending meant $85 billion was cut from the federal budget.

But the sky did not fall immediately after Congress allowed across-the-board budget cuts to take effect. So, interest in the story tapered off.

Now Laura Duffy, the U.S. Attorney in San Diego, is hoping to revive interest in sequestration. Her office faces the potential for significant cuts.

Sequestration cuts resulted in a $1.6 billion reduction to the U.S. Department of Justice 2013 budget.

The DOJ has made cuts to travel, training and other spending to "minimize the harm of sequestration to our mission." Earlier this month, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced a significant change to the federal "mandatory minimum" charging policy for some non-violent, low-level drug offenders.

Holder told NPR, "I think there are too many people in jail for too long and for not necessarily good reasons."

Almost half of people serving time in federal prisons are there on drug charges.

Duffy said those cuts are not enough. She said furloughs of prosecutors and cuts to her budget will force her to make painful choices and could potentially affect the safety of the community.

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