On behalf of the 500 African American mayors across the country, Mayor Toni Harp of New Haven, CT, and President of the African American Mayors Association (AAMA), released the following statement in response to today’s U.S. Department of Justice policy announcement to seek the most serious charges and strictest sentencing for crimes:
“Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ memo instructing federal prosecutors to pursue more serious charges and harsher sentences in all criminal prosecution sentencing including low-level and nonviolent drug offences flies in the face of the progress made on criminal justice reform over the last several years.
“In particular, mandatory minimums increase the federal prison population and exacerbate racial disparities in the criminal justice system while limiting the discretion of judges to consider mitigating factors. Excessive sentencing tears families apart and makes it even more difficult for returning citizens to integrate back into society. This is disastrous for not only local communities, but our nation as a whole.
“AAMA calls on President Trump and Attorney General Sessions to continue on the bipartisan path to criminal justice reform, which embraces more equitable sentencing and reductions in the federal prison population.”