Jeff Sessions Fights for Racist Outcomes. Who Cares What’s in His Heart? – Slate Magazine
At every turn, when met with efforts to increase diverse representation or reverse the vast racial disparities in the criminal justice system, Jeff Sessions has stood in opposition. He has disparaged groups working to reform the death penalty, publicly supported “chain gangs” for prisoners in Alabama, and worked against bipartisan efforts to reform federal sentencing, including severe mandatory minimums that fall hardest on black and Latino offenders. In one exchange on Tuesday with Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, Sessions confirmed that he still opposes an effort to make sentencing reform retroactive for drug offenders imprisoned under the now-defunct 100-to-1 crack-cocaine disparity. And while Sessions says “it’s not the attorney general’s decision about when and where a mandatory minimum is imposed and whether it can be retroactively altered,” it is true that the attorney general can influence the guidance provided to federal prosecutors, as evidenced by Eric Holder’s decision to move prosecutors away from harsh punishments of minor drug offenders.