Attorney General Jeff Sessions just reminded the country that he wants the failed War on Drugs to be the centerpiece of his Justice Department policy. The top law official on Friday directed prosecutors to seek the maximum penalty possible even for the lowest level drug offenders.
“It is a core principle that prosecutors should charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense,” Sessions said in a memo.
The AG said his maneuver is simply an attempt to return to a DOJ policy mandated by Congress .
“We are returning to the enforcement of the laws as passed by Congress, plain and simple,” Sessions said in a speech announcing the change. “If you are a drug trafficker, we will not look the other way, we will not be willfully blind to your misconduct.”
Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) immediately responded to the AG’s decision.
“While we appreciate the attorney general’s commitment to reducing crime and combating dangerous opioid abuse, we think his strategy is misguided, unsupported by evidence, and likely to do more harm than good,” FAMM said. “Indeed, the drug epidemic challenging our country today is a devastating indictment of the one-size-fits-all punishment regime that General Sessions seeks to expand. His charging memo throws decades of improved techniques and technologies out of the window in favor of a failed approach.”
Former Attorney General Eric Holder also responded to his predecessor’s move.
“The policy announced today is not tough on crime,” Holder said. “It’s an ideologically motivated, cookie-cutter approach that has only been proven to generate unfairly long sentences that are often applied indiscriminately and do little to achieve long-term public safety.”
Holder’s memo to undo certain mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines was one of the few Obama Justice Department policies championed by small government conservatives.