May 12, 2017

Whitehouse Statement on Criminal Justice Directive

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, released the following statement on Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s memorandum issued today, which instructs federal prosecutors to pursue the most serious provable offense against crime suspects—the offenses most likely to carry mandatory minimum sentences:

“This senseless move represents a step backwards for our justice system.  As a former U.S. Attorney and Attorney General, I know that prosecutors need to be able to decide how to charge their cases, and foolishly long mandatory sentences can end up doing more harm than good.  States like Rhode Island are working to reduce swelling prison populations and burdensome incarceration costs, help former offenders contribute to their communities when they’ve paid their debt to society, and fight the addiction crisis.  Republicans and Democrats in Congress have also been working in good faith to achieve these important reforms.  This directive takes us in precisely the opposite direction.”


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