Sessions mulls bringing back harsher charges for low-level drug crimes

Criminal Justice

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions/Gage Skidmore

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions has ordered a review of Obama administration policies that had instructed prosecutors to avoid charging low-level drug defendants with crimes carrying minimum penalties.

The review could “mark the first significant move by the Trump administration to bring back the drug war’s toughest practices,” the Washington Post reports.

Sources told the newspaper that Sessions is considering directing prosecutors to use the most severe charges for drug traffickers, including low-level defendants. He is also said to be considering allowing prosecutors to use enhancements that call for stiffer sentences when a defendant has a past felony drug conviction. The former administration had reduced prosecutors’ use of enhancements.

The attorney general will issue an updated memo on charging for all criminal cases, department spokesman Ian Prior told the newspaper in a statement. “As the attorney general has consistently said, we are reviewing all Department of Justice policies to focus on keeping Americans safe and will be issuing further guidance,” he said.


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