Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) slammed Attorney General Jeff Sessions for his “tough-on-crime” policies during an event held early Tuesday to address rising incarceration rates for women.
“The answer is not to build more prisons and the answer is certainly not to privatize those prisons,” Harris said as the audience erupted in cheers. “And the answer, Jeff Sessions, is not to return to relying on mandatory minimum sentences.”
“We need to be smarter,” Harris said. “We need to be smarter.”
In May, Sessions issued a memo directing federal prosecutors to “pursue the most serious, readily provable” offenses that by definition “carry the most substantial guidelines sentence, including mandatory minimums.”
This was a drastic departure from the orders under Attorney General Eric Holder, who in 2013 urged federal prosecutors to be more lenient with nonviolent low-level drug offenders, the Hill reported. Sessions also rescinded an Obama-era plan to phase out the federal government’s use of private prisons.
“The Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act will address some of these issues,” she said.