All 94 U.S. attorneys received a memo late Thursday from Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ office that instructs them to pursue charges with the longest prison time and orders them to bring back mandatory minimum sentences.
Officials at the Department of Justice said the new guidelines are a direct rebuttal of policies implemented under President Obama’s attorney general, Eric Holder.
The memo is already being referred to as “the Sessions Memo.”The 94 U.S. attorneys were instructed in the memo to “charge and pursue the most serious and readily provable offense.”
These cases often carry the longest sentences.The memo also brings back into effect mandatory minimum sentences, which are expected to increase prosecutions and the prison population.
Holder, who served under the Obama administration, implemented the “Smart on Crime” drug sentencing policy that focused on not incarcerating people who committed low level non-violent crimes.
The Obama administration used the “Smart on Crime” policy to combat what they believed was a high number of prosecutions of non-violent drug offenders. DOJ officials call it a “false narrative” and say unless a gun is involved, most of those cases aren’t charged period.
Officials say Holder’s “Smart on Crime” policy “convoluted the process,” and left prosecutors applying the law unevenly, which they said “is not Justice.”