Attorney General Jeff Sessions has sent harsher charging instructions to federal prosecutors, asking them to clamp down on drug offenders. President Obama’s administration sought to avoid doling out long, mandatory-minimum sentences to less-serious, nonviolent drug offenders, but Sessions has opted to revive the “war on drugs” in an effort to dissuade offenders—and swelling prisons as he does it. “This policy affirms our responsibility to enforce the law, is moral and just, and produces consistency,” Sessions wrote in the memo. “This policy fully utilizes the tools Congress has given us.” Sessions’ decision is a significant step in his plan to dismantle Obama’s effort to overhaul the criminal-justice system. Critics of the “tough on crime” policy have argued that such sentencing guidelines are a drain on tax dollars and disproportionately affect minorities. Sessions has said that lighter sentencing has done nothing but fuel a surge in violent crime and opioid use.
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