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The 5 Scariest Things About Jeff Sessions's New War on Drugs

Four criminal justice experts weigh in on what the attorney general is saying in his memo on federal drug sentencing.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions
Attorney General Jeff Sessions Aaron Bernstein

Attorney General Jeff Sessions released a memo today requiring federal prosecutors to “charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offenses” for drug violations. The idea behind it is to allow him to continue the mission he began as a U.S. Senator—undermining the Democrat-Republican detente on the failed war on drugs.

For years, members of Congress from both parties have been trying to pass the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act, which would reduce mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenders and give judges more sentencing discretion. But Sessions’ memo has ordered U.S. attorneys to pursue charges that “carry the most substantial guidelines sentence, including mandatory minimum sentences.”