US Prosecutors Told To Push For More, Harsher Punishments

You thought Walmart was the king of rollback? Well, there is a new sheriff in town.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is the king of rollback. Rolling back Obama-era policies, that is. Specifically charging and sentencing guidelines for convicted felons.

According to the Albuquerque Journal, Sessions “is directing federal prosecutors to pursue the most serious charges possible against the vast majority of suspects, a reversal of Obama-era policies that is sure to send more people to prison and for much longer terms.”

He has a long history of being tough on crime. When he was a federal prosecutor, he “cut his teeth during the height of the crack cocaine epidemic,” and now promises “to make combating violence and drugs the Justice Department’s top priority.”

Is there a drug problem in the United States? Yes. Specifically, opioid and heroin abuse. This epidemic of addiction is ravaging both rural and urban populations.

Sessions attributes the rise in violence to this epidemic and believes this statistic shows “the need for a return to tougher tactics.”

In a speech this week, Sessions argued, “Drug trafficking is an inherently violent business. If you want to collect a drug debt, you can’t, and don’t, file a lawsuit in court. You collect it by the barrel of a gun.”

According to Sessions, the only solution is to get tough and crack down on crime.

Critics are skeptical of Sessions for reviving “the worst aspects of the drug war.” Instead of what some liberals advocate–funding for education, treatment, and rehabilitation facilities, for example–Sessions will crack down on crime, which many argue subjects “nonviolent, lower-level offenders to unfairly harsh sentences that disproportionately hurt minority communities.”

The President of Families Against Mandatory Minimums Kevin Ring commented, “It looks like we’re going to fill the prisons back up after finally getting the federal prison population down. But the social and human costs will be much higher.”

On the other hand, National Association of Assistant U.S. Attorneys head Lawrence Leiser argues that the reversal of Obama-era policies provides “prosecutors better tools to go after drug traffickers and gangs.”



Regan Pifer

About Regan Pifer

Reagan Pifer has taught and researched American history and politics in higher education for ten years. These are her rants.

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