Sessions ends Obama-era leniency on sentencing

Sessions ends Obama-era leniency on sentencing

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is promising to renew the federal government's war on drugs, saying tough new sentencing policies are necessary to combat what he described as a surge of violent crime in cities. "Attorney General Sessions' new policy will accentuate that injustice".

Earlier DOJ Guidance that discouraged the federal prosecution of low-level drug offenders resulted in a 14% drop in federal prosecution of drug cases and a focus on more serious offenses and more risky offenders.

Other users noted that the directive could work in favor of federal investigators now engaged in probing the Trump campaign's alleged involvement in Russiagate.

Under the Obama administration, federal prosecutors had been instructed to pursue the toughest penalties only for "serious, high-level" criminals, rather than for low-level drug offenders. Lawmakers established mandatory minimum sentences.

This policy will probably lead to more convictions and a higher prison population.

According to data from the Sentencing Project, people of color comprise 37% of the total USA population but 67% of the prison population.

JEFF SESSIONS: We intend to reverse this trend. "This policy fully utilizes the tools Congress has given us", Sessions told thousands of assistant USA attorneys in the memo.

Under Sessions, the Justice Department believes critics of mandatory minimum sentences are challenging laws approved by Congress. "It is dumb on crime", The Washington Times reported. "They deserve to be unhandcuffed and not micromanaged from Washington", Sessions said.

"It is in essence the same sentencing and charging doctrine that we have followed for decades with regard to charging the most readily provable offenses and holding people accountable for their actions", she said.

Sessions of Alabama. At one point, Sessions said that "good people" don't do drugs like marijuana and said the reforms would "endanger" Americans.

The drastic shift in criminal justice policy, foreshadowed during recent weeks, is Sessions' first major stamp on the Justice Department, and it highlights several of his top targets: drug dealing, gun crime, and gang violence. Sessions was a key hold out on a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill in the Senate that would have cut back mandatory minimum sentences for low-level drug offenses.

Inimai Chettiar, the director of the Brennan Center's Justice Program said in a statement that Mr Sessions "is leaving little to no room for prosecutors to use their judgement and determine what criminal charges best fit the crime".

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., on the other hand, said mandatory minimum sentences have "unfairly and disproportionately incarcerated too many minorities for too long". Ultimately, the job of a prosecutor must be to seek justice and fairness, not to gain more convictions or secure long prison sentences.

Barry Pollack, head of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, said the new policy "marks a return to the failed policies of past administrations that caused mass incarceration, devastated families and communities, wasted untold millions of dollars and failed to make us any safer".

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