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GPSC responds to Jeff Sessions's presence in Memphis

posted May 26, 2017, 4:58 AM by Aaron Fowles   [ updated May 26, 2017, 5:00 AM ]
The Green Party of Shelby County adamantly opposes the minimum sentencing memo written by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his presence in Memphis, which he has singled out in his crusade against the poor and disenfranchised.

The memo suggests that “prosecutors should charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense.”  He defines the most serious crimes as those which have the greatest statutory sentences.  This memo nullifies existing Justice policy that enabled prosecutors to show a degree of leniency to low-level nonviolent offenders.  The original memo in no way endorsed the restriction of sentencing for violent offenders, so the only change made by the Sessions Memo is the increased criminalization of poverty already underway in the current presidential administration.

This sentencing policy will turn back the clock on municipal and state policies intended to increase the quality of American lives.  Even though the efforts were ultimately undone by a conservative legislature in Nashville, the city of Memphis passed a marijuana decriminalization ordinance that would have unbound the hands of many low-level nonviolent offenders in Memphis.  The Sessions Memo will do nothing but aid our state legislature in its oppressive crackdown on the city of Memphis.

Every argument that AG Sessions has used to support his memo could just as well have been used to support the Obama-era Holder Memo, which laid out very clear conditions under which a prosecutor could seek a more lenient sentence.  AG Sessions is using the violence of drug dealers as a red herring to distract from the true intent of his sentencing guidelines.

The Green Party of Shelby County supports the legalization of marijuana and the treatment of drug addiction as a health issue and not a criminal one.  As AG Sessions himself noted in Memphis, there is an opioid crisis in the United States, and those addicts require help and treatment, but so do addicts of heroin, cocaine, alcohol, tobacco, and even marijuana users who have lost control of their consumption.  

Furthermore, the Green Party of Shelby County endorses a policy of eliminating poverty through a robust public works program, thereby raising the floor under the whole of the citizenry and increasing personal and communal wealth.
 
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Aaron Fowles,
May 26, 2017, 4:59 AM
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