Women Imprisoned Under the Drug War Speak Out Against Sessions' New Policy
Date:  05-19-2017

Will Sessions' new directive "worsen racial disparities, increase the number of women serving draconian sentences, and do nothing to improve public safety"?
From Truthout:

In the federal prison in California, Michelle West described people standing in front of the television in shock this past Friday as they learned about Attorney General Jeff Sessions' memo, which promises to intensify the war on drugs.

"They knew it was going to be bad because of his past comments regarding the criminal justice system, but not this bad," West said.

In federal prisons across the country, a similar scenario played out as people, many of whom were sentenced under the drug war policies of the 1980s and 1990s, learned about Sessions' two-page memo entitled Department Charging and Sentencing Policy. The directive instructs federal prosecutors to pursue the most serious, readily provable offense. It thus resurrects the emphasis on mandatory minimum sentencing requirements, which have required judges to impose draconian sentences for drug crimes, even when they don't believe these sentences are warranted. Sessions' memo rescinds and reverses the reforms implemented by former Attorney General Eric Holder, which urged prosecutors to charge people with low-level drug cases to avoid triggering mandatory minimum sentences. Nearly half (or 92,000) of the people in federal prison are serving sentences for drug convictions.

Michelle West is one of thousands of women who was charged and incarcerated under the policies that Sessions is now resurrecting. She was sentenced to life in prison and has spent the past 24 years behind bars. Continue reading >>