Former Attorney General Eric Holder on Friday tore into Attorney General Jeff Sessions' new policy cracking down on drug offenses. In a statement responding to Sessions' memo issued Friday directing federal prosecutors to charge defendants facing drug-related charges with "the most serious, readily provable offense," Holder dismissed the notion that the policy is "tough on crime."
"It is dumb on crime," Holder said in the statement. "It is an ideologically motivated, cookie-cutter approach that has only been proven to generate unfairly long sentences that are often applied indiscriminately and to little to achieve long-term public safety."
Holder's criticism isn't exactly surprising, given that Sessions' directive rolls back Holder's policy issued in 2013 directing prosecutors not to trigger mandatory minimum sentences, so long as a defendant "did not have a significant criminal history, was not violent, or was not a leader of an organization or tied to a gang," The Washington Post reported.
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Holder noted that thanks to his policy, the "prosecutions of high-level drug defendants has risen and that cooperation and plea rates remained effectively the same" despite "fewer indictments carrying a mandatory minimum sentence." "Under the policy announced today, the money spent solely on incarceration would rise and lessen the ability of DOJ to hire prosecutors, agents, and make grants to its state and local partners," Holder said.
Sessions' efforts are part of the Trump administration's pledge to renew "the toughest practices of the drug war."
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