Sessions Moves to Lengthen Drug Sentences
Everyone in the modern world knows that this is wrong on a variety of levels: first among them is that it’s no secret that Nixon’s “War on Drugs’ was really a war on blacks.
This is a bad move that will keep our packed private prisons full of non-violent criminals to feed the maw of the prison industrial complex while making our country no safer. We would be better served if law officers focused on violent crimes and corporate grifters, but that’s not going to happen in Trumpmerica.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is reversing one of the central elements of the Obama administration’s criminal justice reform agenda: a Justice Department policy that led to prosecutors in drug cases often filing charges in a way that avoided triggering mandatory minimum sentences in federal law.
“You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin. And then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities,” Ehrlichman said. “We could arrest their leaders. raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.” - John EhrlichmanSessions is withdrawing a 2013 directive from Attorney General Eric Holder that instructed federal prosecutors not to specify the amount of drugs involved when charging low-level and non-violent drug offenders. That policy effectively gave judges discretion to set sentences lower than the mandatory punishments ranging from five years to life in prison federal law dictates when someone is convicted of a crime involving a certain quantity of illegal drugs.
In a memo distributed to federal prosecutors nationwide Thursday, Sessions said the department default in future cases will return to a previous policy of filing the most serious charge available against a defendant under the provable facts.
“The new policy is expected to lead to more federal prosecutions and an increase in the federal prison population. In February, Sessions seemed to prepare for that inevitability, reversing a directive from previous deputy attorney general Sally Yates for the Justice Department to stop using private prisons to house federal inmates.” Washington Post