PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently issued new charging instructions to prosecutors that some see as the return to the “War on Drugs” and mandatory sentencing.
The guidance instructs prosecutors to charge defendants with the most serious provable offenses that carry the most substantial sentence, including mandatory minimums, something Sessions has alluded to in his desire to reverse the policies of former President Barack Obama.
“We will see a return to some very dark ages that we’ve had in the country that we will see in the war on drugs,” said Rudovsky.
Civil rights attorney Dave Rudovsky has fought against mandatory sentencing, but his point of view is shared on both sides of the aisle — in part because of the cost.
“It costs of millions, hundreds of millions of dollars to lock up drug offenders,” he said.
The Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing did a study on the effectiveness of mandatory minimums and says the cookie-cutter approach doesn’t work, says executive director Mark Bergstrom.
“Judges and others should have some discretion,” said Bergstrom.
As of December, 2.2 million adults were incarcerated, the lowest number in a decade.