Attorney General Racine and Counterparts Urge Department of Justice to Rescind Harsh New Sentencing Guidelines
Press Release
Government of the District of Columbia
May 18, 2017


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, May 18, 2017

Contact:          Rob Marus, Communications Director: (202) 724-5646;

Marrisa Geller, Public Affairs Specialist: (202) 724-5448;


Coalition Urges AG Sessions to Rescind Guidance, Requests Dialogue on Criminal Justice Reform

WASHINGTON, D. C. – Attorney General Karl A. Racine today led a coalition of attorneys general from the District and 14 states in calling for United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions to rescind harsh new sentencing guidance for Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutors that is neither smart on crime nor fair to offenders, their families and their communities. The attorneys general also requested a meeting with Sessions to discuss smarter, data-driven approaches to criminal justice policy that are better for public safety, more fiscally sound, and more just than mandatory minimum sentences for low-level offenders.


“There is simply no evidence to support the notion that these kinds of tough-on-crime guidelines are effective at anything other than ballooning prison populations and budgets,” Attorney General Racine said. “We are urging Attorney General Sessions not to turn back the clock, but rather to look to a bipartisan consensus in support of smart policies associated with reductions in prison populations, declining crime rates, and lower costs to government.”


In a letter sent to Attorney General Sessions, the attorneys general write that “there is a strong and bipartisan national consensus that the harsh sentencing practices reflected in the new DOJ policy announced last week do not increase public safety, and that consensus is supported by strong data.” Additionally, they say that “the new DOJ policy runs contrary not only to this consensus, but also to basic principles of equal justice and sound fiscal policy.”


Joining Attorney General Racine in today’s letter are attorneys general from California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington state.


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