So Much for Prison Reform – Sessions Wants To Lock Up More People

The United States already has the highest incarceration rate in the world, yet Attorney General Jeff Sessions would like to see even more Americans locked up. In a speech to law enforcement officials in Nashville last week, Sessions lamented that the federal prison population has decreased in the past few years and looked to “fix” that non-problem.

“We’ve got some space to put some people,” said Sessions. “We need to reverse a trend that suggested that criminals won’t be confronted seriously with their crimes.”

Although his words were met with standing ovations from the crowd, it’s a slap in the face to the progress activists have made in changing minds on mass incarceration. Prison reform has become more of a bipartisan issue in recent years, with plenty of Republicans even agreeing that minorities are targeted with unfair sentences for nonviolent offenses, but per usual, the White House remains an outlier.

Unfortunately, Sessions’s comments are in line with his previous sentiments on the matter. Last May, he endorsed strict enforcement of mandatory minimum sentences to keep lawbreakers locked up for longer. In fact, he wanted federal prosecutors to get permission from a U.S. attorney before offering a deal with a lesser charge.

Additionally, in December, Sessions tossed out guidelines created during the Obama years to help prevent poor people from spending time in jail simply because they don’t have the money to pay court fines. Hey, if there’s not enough dangerous people to lock up, why not put some poor people in prison cells, right?

While Sessions and his cronies will insist that they’re simply trying to make the U.S. safer by employing these tactics, the research fails to indicate that having more people in jail actually accomplishes that.

The main benefactor of a system of mass incarceration is the prison industrial complex, which profits when it can open more prisons and gets paid more money when the government is asking them to house more prisoners. Call it a coincidence, but two of Sessions’s former aides went on to become lobbyists for private prisons prior to Sessions taking these controversial stances.

Even Nashville Sheriff Daron Hall isn’t a fan of what Sessions is proposing. “It’s unfortunate that the attorney general, or anybody for that matter, believes that jail space should be filled,” Hall said. He’s been working with the local district attorney to continue to shrink the prison population and find alternative solutions that may actually help some of the area’s problem—causers like rehab or mental health treatment.

If you ask me, Sessions should be reserving a bunch of prison space for him and his friends in the Trump administration. Sessions may think it’s only a jail-able offense if a crime is committed by a poor person, black or brown person or drug addict, but with allegations of foreign collusion, election-rigging, fraud and money-laundering circling the White House, those seem like the kinds of crimes that should land people serious prison time.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

56 comments

Paulo R
Paulo R11 months ago

ty

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Paulo R
Paulo R11 months ago

ty

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Paulo R
Paulo R11 months ago

ty

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Susan B
Susan B12 months ago

There are too many people in prisons or jails who could benefit from alternative sentencing.

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KimJ M
KimJ M12 months ago

tfs

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KimJ M
KimJ M12 months ago

tfs

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KimJ M
KimJ M12 months ago

tfs

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ANA MARIJA R
ANA MARIJA R12 months ago

well said, Winn A

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heather g
heather g12 months ago

America is out of step with the rest of the world

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Brian F
Brian Fabout a year ago

America incarcerates more people than any other nation, and yet it has the audacity to lecture other countries about human rights. America is a corrupt dicratorship run by billionares and corporations that profit off the incarceration of poor people, and people of color. Rich people like this crook Sessions almost never go to jail.

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