The Justice Department is doing the right thing by encouraging nonviolent inmates who have served at least 10 years to seek a grant of clemency.
The program is expected to attract a lot of applicants. It fits Attorney General Eric H. Holder’s efforts to reduce the use of mandatory prison sentences and lower the number of people in prisons.
The program should be coupled with even greater government and private efforts to re-integrate inmates into society so they won’t fall back into old habits. Ex-offenders should receive job training, and government officials should work with employers to ensure that they will get meaningful work when they are released.
The program could put thousands of people back in communities throughout the country. They should return as assets to their families and cities and not liabilities.