Attorney General Jeff Sessions has returned the Justice Department to the failed mindset of its past, former U.S. Attorneys Joyce Vance and Carter Stewart write in the National Review. Sessions’ requirement that prosecutors charge the most serious offenses and ask for the lengthiest prison sentences doesn’t work, say Vance and Stewart. They say that the goal of the policies originally was to create nationwide uniformity in the justice system, but they “resulted in the proliferation of questionable prosecutions, and the Bureau of Prisons’ population swelled to its highest level in history.”
Vance and Stewart contend that the 2013 “Smart on Crime” initiative of then-Attorney General Eric Holder included good prisoner re-entry policies. They conclude that Sessions’ policies amount to a “recipe for failure,” favoring what they say is Holder’s proved approach that has reduced prison populations, costs, and crime in some states. “Justice is about more than just putting people in prison,” say Vance, former U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, and Stewart, former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Ohio.