Washington, DC: Attorney General Sessions Orders Return To Harsher Drug Penalties
By Derrick Stanley
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo Wednesday to thousands of assistant U.S. attorneys throughout the country and all of the assistant district attorneys in Washington D.C. that will reverse some of the more lenient policies regarding drug convictions. The move could result in a spike of Drug War-era mandatory minimum sentences — even for nonviolent drug offenders.
Sessions orders prosecutors to “charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense” in the memo.
“We are returning to the enforcement of the laws as passed by Congress, plain and simple,” Sessions said during a speech on Friday. “If you are a drug trafficker, we will not look the other way, we will not be willfully blind to your misconduct.”
Sessions is well known for being aggressive on drug crimes. He recently said that marijuana is only "slightly less awful than heroin", and said in 2016 that “good people don’t smoke marijuana.”
Udi Ofer, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Campaign for Smart Justice, said that, “Jeff Sessions is pushing federal prosecutors to reverse progress and repeat a failed experiment — the War on Drugs — that has devastated the lives and rights of millions of Americans, ripping apart families and communities and setting millions, particularly Black people and other people of color, on a vicious cycle of incarceration.”
“It’s really ironic,” Molly Gill, the director of federal legislative affairs for Families Against Mandatory Minimums, told The LA Times. “Jeff Sessions touts himself as a champion of public safety, and they want to waste taxpayers’ money on people who aren’t that much of a threat.”