WASHINGTON, U.S. – In a bid to impose strict and maximum punishment for crimes, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo directing federal prosectors to impose punishments on crimes more harshly.
According to the memo sent to all 94 United States attorneys’ offices, Sessions has directed federal prosecutors to bring the most “serious, readily approvable offense” charge in all cases moving forward.
The memo, that comes as a major move by the country’s top law enforcement officer, signals that the Department of Justice is serious about being tough on crime.
The memo also effectively rolls back a memo issued by then-Attorney General Eric Holder in 2013.
That memo encouraged prosecutors to use their discretion when filing criminal charges — especially in low-level drug offenses and other cases that elicited mandatory minimum sentences.
Sessions claims in his memo that “charging and sentencing recommendations are crucial responsibilities for any federal prosecutor.”
He further added that pursuing the harshest punishment possible for a crime with multiple charges is a policy that “affirms our responsibility to enforce the law, and is moral and just.”
Reports also pointed out that a similar policy was adopted under Former President George W. Bush, after his attorney general, John Ashcroft in 2003, ordered the same thing.
Sessions has stated that if a prosecutor does not want to pursue the most serious charge, he or she must get the decision approved by a supervisor, such as a U.S. attorney or assistant attorney general.
Sessions move shows his categoric disagreement with Holder, who wrote in 2013, that directing prosecutors to pursue the harshest punishment was hurting the country.
Citing overcrowding in prisons and overspending by taxpayers, Holder had announced the policy change claiming that “too many Americans go to too many prisons for far too long and for no good law enforcement reason.”
He had argued then that, “[W]idespread incarceration at the federal, state and local levels is both ineffective and unsustainable.”
The move by Sessions however, is not something authorities didn’t preempt – since Sessions has declared in every major speech since being confirmed as attorney general, that public safety and violent crime are intertwined – and his top priorities.
In a memo he issued in March, Sessions had pointed out, “We do have strong evidence that aggressive prosecutions of federal laws can be effective in combating crime. Our department’s experience over decades shows these prosecutions can help save lives.”
The same month, Sessions addressed law enforcement officials and vowed that “this country will not go backwards” and his department would “hammer drug dealers and violent felons.”
He had stated, “We have too much of a tolerance for drug use. We need to say, as Nancy Reagan said, ‘Just say no.’ There’s no excuse for this, it’s not recreational. Lives are at stake, and we’re not going to worry about being fashionable.”
The latest memo issued by the Attorney General is also set to impact the nation’s incarceration rate.
The number of Americans incarcerated for drug offenses recorded a steady increase between 1980 and 2010.
However, the number of those jailed for drug offenses fell from 98,000 in 2010 to 92,000 in 2015.
Further, the federal prison population for all offenses decreased over the same period.
(c) 1998-2017 Big News Network. All rights reserved. Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (Syndigate.info).