US AG issues new criminal charging policy

Attorney General Jeff Sessions waits to be introduced during a service at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial on Tuesday

Yet Sessions, in a memo to federal prosecutors, defended tough drug sentencing as "moral and just", arguing that it provided consistency within the criminal-justice system. The memo announced Friday would urge US attorneys to charge steeper crimes that would trigger long mandatory prison sentences, including for drug offenders.

Sessions move shows his categoric disagreement with Holder, who wrote in 2013, that directing prosecutors to pursue the harshest punishment was hurting the country.

Sessions noted that "there will be circumstances in which good judgment would lead a prosecutor to conclude that a strict application" of the policy is not warranted, but that any exceptions must first be approved by a USA attorney, assistant attorney general, or a designated supervisor.

The reversal gives prosecutors better tools to go after drug traffickers and gangs, said Lawrence Leiser, head of the National Association of Assistant U.S. Attorneys. In most cases, recommending a sentence within the advisory guideline range will be appropriate. However, those exceptions have to obtain approval from top supervisors with documented reasoning so that that Justice Department can keep tabs on the handling of those cases. He was USA attorney in Colorado under Obama.

The new policy will no doubt increase both federal prosecutions and increase prison populations, a fact that will echo issues into the future. And the American Civil Liberties Union said Sessions is " pushing federal prosecutors to reverse progress and repeat a failed experiment-the War on Drugs". Find us on Facebook too!

Now the MSM has gone into a tizzy and concentrated on drug offenses, but the memo does not mention drugs at all. Sessions however, is working to punish and imprison offenders to the fullest extent possible and working to include minimum mandatory sentences.

Eric Holder, the former attorney general for Obama who designed the lenient policy, is obviously upset that his policy has been undone.

Policies implemented by Holder during the Obama Administration were aimed at reducing the number of non-violent offenders jailed, and the immediate costs associated with decades of stringent drug policy.

Paul's swift opposition is indicative of the irony of Sessions latest memo: It comes at a time when there is a growing consensus that the criminal justice system needs to be reformed away from policies of the past, particularly when it comes to sentences for drug crimes. DOJ officials call it a "false narrative" and say unless a gun is involved, most of those cases aren't charged period.

Citing overcrowding in prisons and overspending by taxpayers, Holder had announced the policy change claiming that "too many Americans go to too many prisons for far too long and for no good law enforcement reason".

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California, said in a statement that Sessions is trying to revive the "war on drugs", which she said "treated drugs, addiction and substance abuse as a crime instead of as a public health issue". Whether or not this is the case, the change will affect everyone and make it very hard for drug users to get clean after being imprisoned and incurring a record that will affect all future employment, housing and education.

"I'm dubious about marijuana".

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