So it's up to Congress to fix the situation by changing the law, Ring says.
U.S. Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, both Democrats representing Washington, joined nine other senators on Wednesday to urge the inspector general of the Department of Justice to investigate whether Attorney General Jeff Sessions violated his recusal from the investigation into Russia's interference in the election. It's a misguided "tough on crime" attitude that dismisses all the known information about the overly punitive effects of the racist war on drugs.
Sessions sent a letter to federal prosecutors last week which directed federal prosecutors to pursue the most serious charges possible against most criminal suspects.
Sen. Paul also said he opposes mandatory minimum sentences because they "have unfairly and disproportionately incarcerated too many minorities for too long". Third, Trump and Sessions do not "oversee" the American criminal justice system.
The move is a reversal from former President Barack Obama's Justice Department, which discouraged mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenders.
Sessions' call for stricter penalties is sure to be met with criticism for attempting to apply ineffective, outdated policy to a decades-old debate. "Attorney General Sessions' new policy will accentuate that injustice". He worked on many criminal cases in his previous job, including several drug conspiracy cases. It has boosted the power of the state far further than it should ever have been allowed to go. It has ruined lives. And he's planning to do so by bringing back the very policies that have been proven to not work and are a "bad return on investment" for taxpayers, according to Harris. It has benefited the "prison-industrial complex".
Civil asset forfeiture has exploded as a result of the drug war, too, and we're hard pressed to find a more egregious violation of civil liberties in the criminal justice system. Executing the law is his and Sessions' objective.
As a former federal prosecutor, I trust prosecutors to use their discretion to assess each case and seek an appropriate sentence.
Furthermore, there's a legitimate argument that this issue should be left up to the states, not the federal government.
Criminal reform advocates largely support the Senate's sentencing reform efforts. Statistics show that the average American citizen commits three felonies every day. Critics accused Sessions of pursuing an aggressive policy that will put more people of color behind bars and fuel racially biased mass incarceration and policing.
And we need this administration to understand that if they care about the opioid crisis in rural America, as they say they do, they have also got to care about the drug-addicted young man in Chicago or East LA.
"An outgrowth of the failed War on Drugs, mandatory sentencing strips critical public safety resources away from law enforcement strategies that actually make our communities safer", said Leahy.
The Obama administration policy shift coincided with its clemency initiative that released convicts considered worthy of a second chance and U.S. Sentencing Commission changes that made tens of thousands of federal drug inmates eligible for early release. After all, this is the guy who uttered perhaps the most important dictum about human nature, ethical fortitude and societal justice in recent history: "Good people don't smoke marijuana". Even if you don't think this distinction makes drug prohibition inherently unjust, it is surely relevant in deciding what punishment someone deserves.
However, as much as Sessions wishes he was still leading the cavalry against Union forces, this is the 21st century, and things are different now. But Trump and Sessions don't appear to favor the needed reform, either.
"Focusing on the problems rather than just everybody we can charge for as long as we can charge, let's do it", Miles said.