In a new memo, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has directed his federal prosecutors to pursue harsh and lengthy sentences for low-level drug offenses. This new policy overturns the practices of former Attorney General Eric Holder. Previously, federal prosecutors were ordered to avoid imposing mandatory minimums for low-level crimes.
Sessions sends a clear message of being tough on drugs by way of punishment. Law enforcers are now expected to follow a pattern that has harmed and contributed to an immense amount of injustice in the criminal justice system.
In the past, policies similar to this “charging order” have resulted in the U.S. having the highest incarceration rate in the world. In U.S. federal prisons, those arrested for non-violent drug offenses account for almost 50 percent of the prison population and African Americans being incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of whites.
In order to uphold our values as Christians, it is important that we stand for the freedom, justice and dignity of all. The MCC U.S. Washington Office will continue to work against the pressing issue of mass incarceration. To learn more about this issue and how to be a better advocate for criminal justice reform, take a look at some of the provided resources.
Cherelle M. Dessus is a Legislative Assistant and Communications Coordinator for the MCC Washington Office.