BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A memo from the Attorney General’s office is not even two pages long, but experts tell WJZ, this may be the warning shot of another war on drugs.
“We’re seeing an increase in violent crime in our cities, particularly in Baltimore,” says U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Attorney General Sessions spotlighting Baltimore Friday, as he orders a drug crackdown nationwide.
Straight from his office, the memo tells federal prosecutors to “Charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense.”
“This is, to some degree, a reintroduction of war on drug policies,” says attorney Adam Ruther.
It’s an unwritten warning to drug dealers that Baltimore attorney Adam Ruther says will mean fewer breaks in federal court and more time behind bars.
This radical shift from the last administration’s policies, which backed off mandatory minimum sentences.
“Now, it says, if you have a basis to prosecute a case, you go with the highest charge, with the highest penalty, and if you want to do something different than that, you have to seek authority first,” says Ruther.
It’s a throwback to the war on drugs, colliding with Maryland’s deadly drug epidemic.
Community activist Doni Glover says on these sidewalks
“You have police on one corner, and people selling dope on another,” says Glover.
Crack down on that street-level dealing and he predicts prison populations will spike.
“We foresee it going up unless people get the message that you’re going to have to do something other than sell drugs.”
That’s bringing a lot of questions about what the blow will be to the prison system. Can it even accommodate more drug offenders for more time?
The order went out to more than 5,000 assistant U.S. Attorney Generals. It is the first significant criminal justice effort from this administration.