Saturday, May 13, 2017

NPR — Sessions Tells Prosecutors To Seek 'Most Serious' Charges, Stricter Sentences

Attorney General Jeff Sessions directed the Justice Department to pursue tougher penalties for drug offenders.

This despite the fact that there has been a great deal of support for criminal-justice reform over the past five years. There has been a united effort to reduce unprecedented prison populations by scaling back on the harshest punishments implemented during the tough-on-crime era.

“For decades, politicians have been celebrated — sometimes even rewarded — for spouting “tough on crime” rhetoric and supporting laws that have inflated the nation’s inmate population and made the U.S. the world’s leading jailer. But voters from both parties have grown weary of such policies and overwhelmingly support broad reforms aimed at reducing the prison population, according to a public opinion poll released this week.

“The poll, released by The Pew Charitable Trusts and conducted by The Mellman Group and Public Opinion Strategies, shows that large majorities of voters believe too many drug offenders are incarcerated; mandatory minimum sentences for a variety of crimes should be abolished; and that prisoners should be allowed to participate in jailhouse job-training or drug-treatment programs that could reduce sentences.

“In short, voters consider the federal prison population to be “too large, too expensive, and too often incarcerating the wrong people,” reads the Pew report, according to the Huffington Post.

Session’s directive, however, abandons the Obama administration’s efforts to reduce sentencing for low-level drug crimes.

Robert Reich says Sessions is dead wrong.

1. Mandatory sentencing laws for drug users are a relic of unfair, ineffective, costly, and racist policies – leading to the imprisonment of more Americans and at a higher rate than in any other country.

2. Sessions said the crackdown was “a key part of President Trump’s promise to keep America safe,” linking drug trafficking to increased homicide rates in some cities. But the rate of overall homicides in America, as well as other serious crimes, is significantly down.

3. The new policy disproportionately targets minorities because of how different drugs are categorized under the law. Even Republican Sen. Rand Paul said the “new policy will accentuate that injustice.”

Jeff Sessions is again proving himself to be ignorant and racist.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions addresses
the Sergeants Benevolent Association of
New York City at an event Friday in
Washington, D.C. During his speech,
Sessions said federal prosecutors "deserve
to be unhandcuffed and not micromanaged
from Washington."

Win McNamee/Getty Images
Sessions Tells Prosecutors To Seek 'Most Serious' Charges, Stricter Sentences

By Colin Dwyer