US Attorney General Eric Holder is endorsing a plan to reduce sentences for certain drug offenses.
He says the move could reduce the federal prison population by more than 6,500 inmates in five years.
Holder plans to appear before the US Sentencing Commission today to endorse the commission's proposed change.
He says penalties would still be tough for violent criminals while finding ways to reduce the costs of the federal prison system.
Federal prisons now hold about 216,000 prisoners.
With only five percent of the world's population, Holder says the US has nearly a quarter of the world's prison inmates.