Trump’s Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, in a memo sent to federal prosecutors on Thursday, signaled his intention to return to one of the most notable failed law enforcement policies of the past: the war on drugs. He is instructing the prosecutors to “charge defendants with the most serious, provable crimes carrying the most severe penalties."
To return to these destructive and racist policies is a recipe for an increase in violent crime, a decrease in our ability to apprehend and convict perpetrators of those crimes, and an increase in prison population in our already over-incarcerated society.
A renewed drug war would undermine efforts to repair the rift between police and communities, deprive investigators of witnesses and alienate countless members of our communities.
It would divert prosecutors and resources away from the serious, violent crime that we need to focus on — and away from corporate and environmental crime.
It would attach felony records to countless people, destroying their ability to ever get a decent job — and for some, leaving crime as the only choice.
It would destroy families and tear apart communities that are struggling to heal.
Dealing hard drugs is a serious crime, and I will prosecute it vigorously. It will be the same for additional crimes committed while dealing drugs. Open-air drug markets operate with seeming impunity in some areas of our city; the traffickers who supply those markets deserve no leniency.
As District Attorney, I will exercise my discretion to divert non-violent, low level drug cases to treatment when possible and appropriate, and I will avoid pursuing mandatory minimums in these cases. Serious criminals deserve serious sentences, but people who just need help should get that help. They don’t need to fill up our prisons.
I refuse to continue wasting money on the the failed policies of the past. Our public schools and communities must have the resources to thrive. We can’t let the Trump administration starve our schools while filling our prisons.
Resistance is not a choice. It’s an obligation.