Attorney General Jeff Sessions has taken the first steps in reigniting the failed war on drugs by directing US attorneys to seek tougher sentences for drug-related crimes. That’s right, failed policies such as mandatory minimum sentences which led to the US having the highest prison population in the world are making a comeback. Sessions released a memo instructing prosecutors to “charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense.”
Sessions’ position is a complete reversal of Obama’s policies, which focused Justice Department resources away from the nonviolent drug offenders who currently clog the criminal justice system. The prison population was actually down to below 200,000 compared to 220,000 in 2013. We are now likely to see the prison population skyrocket to levels not seen since the eighties and nineties. Interestingly, the this was also the time when Jeff Sessions made his bones as a prosecuting attorney.
Sessions released a memo detailing his reasoning. Basically, he thinks that the best way to deal with the opioid crisis is to put everyone in jail including people who got caught with a joint. The memo states, “This policy affirms our responsibility to enforce the law, is moral and just, and produces consistency.” Of course, we know that prison sentences will not be consistent; minorities and poor people will be disproportionately affected. Families are going to be torn apart and lives are going to be ruined. What about that seems just, Mr. Sessions?
Sessions had already reversed another Obama ruling that would have phased out the use of private prisons, which helped contribute to prison overcrowding. The private prison industry donated hundreds of thousands to Trump’s campaign, making them some of his biggest supporters. With the return to the war on drugs, they are certain to see big profits.
Mr. Sessions said in a statement regarding his decision, “The opioid and heroin epidemic is a contributor to the recent surge of violent crime in America.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.” That doesn’t explain why an 18 year-old caught with an ounce of cannabis deserves to spend a year or more in prison.
Source: Yahoo News
Image Source: theGrio.com
Do you think people like Mr. Sessions will ever admit defeat in the war on drugs? How has the war on drugs affected you or someone you know? Share in the comments!