Tell Congress to say no to the War on Drugs.
While all eyes have been on 45 firing FBI director James Comey, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been working to revive the War on Drugs, a decades-old federal policy that led to mass incarceration and disproportionately hurts black and Latinx minorities. Today’s #DailyRevolution is to call your Congresspeople to express your concern over Session’s revival of tough-on-crime policy — and to voice your support for D-VA3, the Justice Safety Valve Act, which allows prosecutors and judges to use their discretion to consider each case separately.
Rolling back Obama’s progressive policies, Sessions is set on reviving the War on Drugs – a federal anti-drug policy from the 1980s–90s that increases prosecutions for drug and gun cases and imposes long mandatory minimum sentences. This means that prosecutors pursue the most serious charges for low-level, nonviolent drug offenders. This policy is not only cost-ineffective, but also, according to Salon, has lead “America’s inmate population to increase from 500,000 in 1980 to 2.2 million in 2015.”
Last month, Sessions released a memo instructing Justice Department lawyers to “charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense.” Session’s also rescinded two policy memos signed by former Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. that instructed attorneys to reserve the most severe penalties for the most serious offense.
Both Democrats and Republicans are critical of the revival of this decades-old policy, which threatens to stop the bipartisan criminal justice reform that has been in the works for years. Among those wary of the new guidelines is Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) who said: “Mandatory minimum sentences have unfairly and disproportionately incarcerated too many minorities for too long. The Attorney General's new guidelines, a reversal of a policy that was working, will accentuate the injustice in our criminal justice system.”
Despite the fact that, since 2009, more than half of U.S. states have passed legislation to relax mandatory minimums in favor of judicial discretion, and crime is near historic lows, Sessions and federal prosecutor Steven Cook seem intent on increasing the already-bloated federal prison population.
It’s time to call our congresspeople to let them know that we do not support this unjust and regressive policy — and to urge them to support the Justice Safety Valve Act, which would allow prosecutors and judges to use their discretion to consider each case separately.
Call our shortcut number to contact your members: 202-858-ANYR (2697). Enter your zip code and our new service will identify your representatives and connect you directly to their D.C. offices. You won’t get a busy signal, or have to keep calling back.
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Sessions Takes First Big Step Toward Bringing Back the War on Drugs – New York Magazine
Jeff Sessions Reinvigorates The Drug War – The Atlantic