Is Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ Drug Sentencing Crackdown a Bad Idea?

This past week Attorney General Jeff Sessions released a new directive to federal prosecutors across the nation, telling them to always seek the most severe sentence possible in every case. The memo also tells prosecutors that when they wish to seek less harsh penalties they must first clear such decisions through their supervisors, and their rationale should be exceptional. It’s a trend that worries some Americans who were hoping to continue seeing progress on criminal justice reforms that had begun during the Obama era.

Former Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) explains why from his perspective, and the perspective of civil libertarians, the Sessions memo is a very bad idea.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent a memo to Federal Prosecutors on Friday to reverse his predecessor’s directive to, when appropriate, seek less severe sentences for some drug offenses. This return to much more robust prosecution of drug offenses will lead to many more and much longer prison sentences. We already spend some $40 billion per year to prosecute and house the approximately 300,000 drug offenders in the US, many of whom non-violent. The one trillion dollar, nearly half-century war on drugs has bee an utter failure and a return to harsher penalties will do nothing to solve the problem. Why will it fail?

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Reposted with Permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

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I am the supreme law of the United States. Originally comprising seven articles, I delineate the national frame of government. My first three articles entrench the doctrine of the separation of powers, whereby the federal government is divided into three branches: the legislative, consisting of the bicameral Congress; the executive, consisting of the President; and the judicial, consisting of the Supreme Court and other federal courts. Articles Four, Five and Six entrench concepts of federalism, describing the rights and responsibilities of state governments and of the states in relationship to the federal government. Article Seven establishes the procedure subsequently used by the thirteen States to ratify it. I am regarded as the oldest written and codified constitution in force of the world.

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