U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo late Wednesday reversing humane drug policies of his predecessors, instantly re-escalating the War on Drugs.
The memo (which you can read in full) was sent to thousand of assistant U.S. attorneys, ordering prosecutors to “charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense.”
The move is a stark reversal of policies put in place by former A.G. Eric Holder in 2013. Holder had instructed prosecutors to strategically avoid triggering mandatory minimum life sentences for some convictions, including for nonviolent drug crimes (typically when the offender had to ties to cartels, gangs, or organized crime).
Holder’s policies were praised by civil rights groups as “appropriately merciful” and drove down incarceration rates.
“It’s really ironic,” Molly Gill, the director of federal legislative affairs for Families Against Mandatory Minimums, told The LA Times. “Jeff Sessions touts himself as a champion of public safety, and they want to waste taxpayers’ money on people who aren’t that much of a threat.”