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May 18, 2017

MADIGAN & 14 ATTORNEYS GENERAL URGE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE TO RESCIND HARSH NEW SENTENCING GUIDELINES

Coalition Calls on Attorney General Sessions to Reverse Sentencing Guidance

Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan today joined with 14 of her counterparts from around the country to call on U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to rescind harsh new instructions for Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutors to seek long sentences for offenders. The attorneys general urged Sessions to adopt data-driven approaches to criminal justice policy that are better for public safety, more fiscally sound, and more just than mandatory minimum sentences for low-level offenders.

In a letter sent to Sessions, Madigan and the attorneys general write that “there is a strong and bipartisan national consensus that the harsh sentencing practices reflected in the new DOJ policy announced last week do not increase public safety, and that consensus is supported by strong data.”

Additionally, they say that “the new DOJ policy runs contrary not only to this consensus, but also to basic principles of equal justice and sound fiscal policy.”

“Pursuing the toughest criminal penalties against defendants is an outdated approach that has not lowered recidivism rates or reduced crime,” Attorney General Madigan said. “We need the Justice Department to be at the forefront of implementing proven policies to reform our criminal justice system in ways that lower prison populations and make our communities safer.”

Joining Madigan in sending today’s letter were attorneys general from: California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.

A copy of the letter can be found here.

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