Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced on Thursday that he plans to re-instate mandatory minimum sentencing for drug cases, reversing a policy carried out by the Obama Department of Justice.
According to Politico, Sessions made the announcement in a memo, where he stated that the Department of Justice would no longer give judges leniency in sentencing those who face drug convictions based on the quantity they possess.
“It is a core principle that prosecutors should charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense,” wrote Sessions. “This policy affirms our responsibility to enforce the law, is moral and just, and produces consistency. This policy fully utilizes the tools Congress has given us. By definition, the most serious are those that carry the most substantial guidelines sentence, including mandatory minimum sentences.”
Sessions did acknowledge that some circumstances might warrant exceptions from mandatory minimum sentencing, but those exceptions can only be provided if they receive “supervisory approval.”
Politico quotes Sessions stating at a summit focusing on the opioid epidemic that “we’ve got too much complacency about drugs. Too much talk about recreational drugs.” Sessions suggested that being less lenient on drug cases is one way to tackle the opioid crisis.
Sessions is essentially undoing policies that were implemented under Eric Holder’s DOJ that weakened mandatory-minimum laws. Only Congress has the authority to weaken those laws, so Sessions is simply doing his job of his enforcing the law. That didn’t stop Holder from declaring, “The policy announced today is not tough on crime. It is dumb on crime.”
The facts, however, suggest that it is Holder who is “dumb on crime,” as “incarceration has been going down and crime has been going up,” as Conservative Review‘s Daniel Horowitz points out: