Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Judiciary Committee Member, And Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman, On Attorney General Sessions’ New Sentencing Policy

“The Attorney General’s new sentencing policy is an ideologically motivated attempt to resurrect the failed policies of the War on Drugs.  Make no mistake, low-level offenders will spend years and even decades more in prison.  This will not make us safer — quite the opposite, it will strip critical public safety resources away from targeting truly violent criminals in order to house nonviolent drug offenders.  Unfortunately, I cannot say that I am surprised.  In recent years, when he was still a senator, the Attorney General was the most vocal opponent of bipartisan efforts to restore sanity to our nation’s counterproductive and hugely expensive sentencing policies.  As the Attorney General of Alabama, he even supported a package of legislation that included a mandatory death penalty for a second marijuana trafficking offense, despite it being unconstitutional and morally repugnant.

“While today’s policy shift represents a major step backward, I hope that cooler heads will prevail in Congress so we can continue to build bipartisan consensus around commonsense criminal justice reforms that will actually make our streets safer.”

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