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Attorney General Sessions Undoes Obama-Era Drug Policy

In a memo released Thursday, Sessions urged prosecutors to "pursue the most serious, readily provable offense."
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Attorney General Sessions Undoes Obama-Era Drug Policy

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has officially ordered federal prosecutors to seek the maximum punishment for drug offenders.

In a memo made public by the Department of Justice on Thursday, Sessions urged prosecutors to "pursue the most serious, readily provable offense." 

He also ordered them to bring back mandatory minimum sentences.

Many have noted these new guidelines will send more people to prison for much longer sentences.

And that's a clear break from drug sentencing policies implemented by President Barack Obama's attorney general, Eric Holder.

Holder's "Smart on Crime" initiative encouraged prosecutors to seek shorter prison sentences for nonviolent drug offenders and save the Justice Department's resources for more serious criminals.

Holder billed his actions as a step toward reducing the mass incarcerations of the "war on drugs" era. But some prosecutors said it hindered their ability to build a case against large-scale drug operations.

Sessions claims the opioid epidemic in the U.S. and increased violence in some cities prove that prosecutors need to enforce tougher punishments.