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AG Sessions orders more aggressive drug sentencing

[JURIST] US Attorney General Jeff Sessions [official website] on Friday issued a new charging policy [materials] urging prosecutors to seek the largest sentences for each crime. This reverses the past administrations policy regarding drug related crimes. The so-called Holder Memo [text, PDF] had been issued to urge that prosecutors to not seek the longer sentences for people charged with drug crimes that were not connected to large drug organizations. The new Sessions memo urges [Washington Post report] prosecutors to "charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense". This new policy is expected to lead to more federal prosecutions and raise the prison population. This is the first move by the Trump administration to tighten its criminal justice in regards to the drugs in the country.

Combating drug use is an issue US President Donald Trump has emphasized in recent months. In March he signed an executive order [materials] which established a task force [JURIST report] which is charged with reducing drug addiction in the nation. This order comes as the national opioid epidemic sweeps throughout America, leaving more people than ever addicted to the substance. President Trump in February also signed [JURIST report] an executive order that was aimed at targeting drug cartels in an attempt to reduce crimes against law enforcement.

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