Perez on New Sentencing Guidelines
May 12, 2017
DNC Chair Tom Perez released the following statement in response to the new sentencing guidelines announced by Attorney General Sessions:
“The cruelty of this administration knows no bounds. Today’s decision by Attorney General Sessions is an affront to the Justice Department’s mission to ensure fair justice for all Americans.
“In recent years, policy experts and members of both parties have agreed that sentencing reform is critical to making our justice system fairer and more efficient. That’s why President Obama’s Justice Department pursued a ‘Smart on Crime’ initiative that gave prosecutors discretion to assess cases on their individual merits, rather than automatically apply harsh, one-size-fits-all sentences. Now Jeff Sessions and Donald Trump want to return to a failed approach that resulted in decades of devastation.
“But the policies announced today aren’t just cruel – they’re costly. Study after study has shown that mandatory minimum sentences result in excessive incarceration that costs billions to our economy and taxpayers without making our communities safer. Instead of deterring crime, they sweep families into a vicious cycle of poverty and imprisonment by creating greater barriers to employment, housing, education, and other critical economic opportunities. These misguided policies are particularly harmful to poor people, African Americans, and Latinos, who typically receive harsher sentences than their white and wealthy peers convicted of the same crime. And unlike President Trump, most of these defendants can’t fire the people investigating them.
“As a career civil rights attorney, I’m appalled by the injustice and inhumanity of this decision. If the Trump administration wants to look for someone to prosecute, they should look in the mirror.
“Now it’s up to Democrats and Republicans to reverse these actions by passing bipartisan criminal justice reform.”