Attorney General's tough-on-crime policy could divide Republicans

May 2017

Attorney General Jeff Sessions' recently issued tough-on-crime drug sentencing memo runs counter to bipartisan efforts to overhaul the criminal justice system, said Mona Lynch, professor of criminology, law and society.

The memo is "a direct swipe at both the congressional effort to do sentencing reform and the U.S. attorneys’ offices efforts to reduce mandatory minimums," Lynch told Bloomberg BNA.

Specifically, some districts in the South, where prosecutors have more often resisted reform, will probably bring more drug cases than their counterparts in the Northeast and West, Lynch told Mother Jones.

"My guess is that there's going to be relatively large geographic disparities," Lynch said.

The memo could also induce conflict within the Republican Party, Lynch said, since many congressional Republicans support reduced sentencing, and many red states are rolling back harsh crime policies to help lower prison populations and balance their budgets.

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