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WASHINGTON – Today, the Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), Chairman Cedric Richmond (D-LA-02), issued the following statement on guidance issued yesterday by Attorney General Sessions that orders federal prosecutors to pursue the toughest charges and sentences for crime suspects, including those suspected of non-violent, low-level drug offenses.
“Our biggest concerns about Attorney General Sessions are becoming reality. Yesterday’s action doubles down on a policy that we know was ineffective and discriminatory. In the name of helping communities, this policy destroyed many of them, including the families that live there. It is widely known that every $1 we spend on mass incarceration makes the country less safe, but Attorney General Sessions has not learned this lesson and is determined to continue the war on drugs with extremely brutal force.
“Attorney General Holder’s Smart on Crime initiative helped prosecutors focus on violent, high-level drug traffickers as opposed to non-violent, low-level drug offenders, making sure that long and harsh sentences were consistent with the crime. This was fiscally smart and compassionate policy that started to stem the tide of mass incarceration in our country. Attorney General Holder’s efforts began to align the country’s historical response to the crack epidemic with the current response to the opioid epidemic. Both destroy futures, communities, and families. The only difference is the communities affected by them.
“The CBC will fight to expose this harmful action for what it is—an attack on our communities. Jeff Sessions, who lied to Congress under oath about contact with the Russian government, should be ashamed of himself.”