U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is taking an uninformed approach in reviving the failed “war on drugs” and imposing more mandatory minimums on nonviolent drug offenders, the ACLU’s David Cole and Marc Mauer of the Sentencing Project write in the Washington Post. They say Sessions is right to be concerned about recent increases in violent crime in some of our nation’s largest cities, as well as a tragic rise in drug overdoses nationwide. But they say there is little reason to believe that his 1980s-style response will do anything to solve the problem.
Cole and Mauer write, “Sessions’s first mistake is to conflate correlation and causation.” And they conclude, “Rather than expanding the drug war, Sessions would be smarter to examine local conditions that influence crime and violence, including policing strategies, availability of guns, community engagement and concentrated poverty. Responding to those underlying problems, and restoring trust through consent decrees that reduce police abuse, hold considerably more promise of producing public safety. Sessions’ revival of the failed policies of the past, by contrast, has little hope of reducing violent crime or drug overdoses.”