Sessions later praised the city as having "done some great things in criminal justice" and said his disagreement with city leaders was primarily over the issue of New York's "sanctuary-city policies". Sessions however, is working to punish and imprison offenders to the fullest extent possible and working to include minimum mandatory sentences.
Senator Rand Paul, a medical doctor, said in a statement that "mandatory minimums have unfairly and disproportionately incarcerated too many minorities for too long". It has always been expected from Sessions, a former federal prosecutor who cut his teeth during the height of the crack cocaine epidemic and who has promised to make combating violence and drugs the Justice Department's top priority.
Mr Sessions said in a news conference that he has in fact "given prosecutors discretion to avoid injustice", but that does not mean they have the ability to ignore mandatory minimums.
"Charging and sentencing recommendations are bedrock responsibilities of any prosecutor. The murder rate has surged 10 percent nationwide - the largest increase since 1968".
Sessions, a former federal prosecutor, has similarly taken a hardline view on crime and drugs.
Mr Sessions advised that all criminals be charged with the "most serious, readily provable offence", or whichever crime has the longest sentence.
That approach lessened sentences for some non-violent drug offenses in part of an effort to lower the number of people imprisoned and focus on rehabilitation. We are returning to the enforcement of the laws as passed by Congress.
Further, we must not overlook the relationship between the Attorney General, this Administration and the private prison industry. The war on drugs may soon come roaring back. And he said that "good people don't smoke marijuana" while advocating against pot legalization.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions just reminded the country that he wants the failed War on Drugs to be the centerpiece of his Justice Department policy. So Pfaff says the national stats aren't going to change that much because of this new policy. "Contradicting commonsense, conscience, and experience of red and blue state governors, this new policy takes us quickly backward", said NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks.
He says the policy is simply an application of sentencing laws approved by Congress.
The two-page memo, released to the public Friday morning, requires federal prosecutors to pursue the toughest possible charges and sentences against suspects.
Under the Obama administration, federal prosecutors had been instructed to pursue the toughest penalties only for "serious, high-level" criminals, rather than for low-level drug offenders.
"The states have shown that you can reduce crime rates and reduce incarceration rates at the same time, keep communities safer and families together, while also using taxpayer dollars more effectively".
Johnson agreed the war on drug using incarceration as a weapon is not enough.
A spokeswoman with the U.S. Attorney's Office in Sacramento told ABC10 Friday that they are reviewing Sessions' memo. It's always been expected from the former prosecutor who has made fighting violent crime the Justice Department's priority. Before that, prosecutors were operating under a couple of memos issued by Holder under the Obama administration.
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