Sessions Encourages Cities to Revive 1990s Crime Strategies - NECN
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

Sessions Encourages Cities to Revive 1990s Crime Strategies

On racial disparities, Sessions said law enforcement has "to be so sensitive to those issues," but added, "When you fight crime you have to fight it where it is"

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Sessions Encourages Cities to Revive 1990s Crime Strategies
    Mark Wilson/Getty Images
    Attorney General Jeff Sessions participates in a news conference related to a reconstituted travel ban at the U.S. Customs and Borders Protection headquarters, on March 6, 2017 in Washington, DC.

    The Justice Department will encourage cities to revive decades-old strategies to fight violent crime, focusing on sending certain gun crimes to federal court, where they carry longer sentences in far-away prisons, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Wednesday.

    Sessions continued to push his tough-on-crime agenda to law enforcement officials in Richmond, where one such effort had its origins.

    Sessions credited that program, known as Project Exile, for slowing the murder rate through aggressive prosecution of gun offenses under federal laws, instead of the weaker state statutes. Conviction on a federal gun charge carries a minimum, mandatory prison sentence of five years, bond is less available and defendants are sent out of state to serve their sentences.

    "I will promote that nationwide," he said, calling the effort "a very discreet effective policy against violent crime."

    Trump Tightens Sanctions Against North Korea

    [NATL] Trump Tightens Sanctions Against North Korea

    President Trump is hitting North Korea with severe new sanctions and issuing an ultimatum to the world: If you do business with Kim Jong Un the United States will not do business with you.

    (Published Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017)

    The comments further underscored Sessions' repeated promise to make fighting street violence a top mission of the Justice Department. That is a radical departure for a department that has focused more on prevention of cyberattacks from foreign criminals, counterterrorism and the threat of homegrown violent extremism.

    Still, in his first month in office, Sessions has spoken more frequently about the need for federal involvement in ordinary crime-fighting, citing the need for harsh sentences for the most violent criminals. Last week, he urged the nation's federal prosecutors to devote more resources to prosecuting the worst offenders, lamenting a rise in murders as federal prosecutions declined.

    Law enforcement officials, including FBI Director James Comey, credit Project Exile for a drop in murders in Richmond. But critics have said the program that began in the 1990s was racially biased and point to other reasons for declines in crime. Federal judges at the time expressed concerns about the wisdom of having federal agencies take over functions historically reserved for state and local law enforcement.

    On racial disparities, Sessions said law enforcement has "to be so sensitive to those issues," but added, "When you fight crime you have to fight it where it is. You may have at some point an impact of a racial nature that you hate to see, but if ... it's focused fairly and objectively on dangerous criminals, then you're doing the right thing."

    Sessions said he helped orchestrate a similar program called Project Trigger Lock when he was a federal prosecutor in Mobile, Alabama, during the height of the drug war in the 1980s and '90s. Investigators would seek ways to move certain traditional violent crime and gang cases to federal court.

    "When I met in my communities, the people in those communities pleaded with us to have more police and do a better job of getting thugs off the street," he said. "I still go through there 30 years later and see the progress that was made."

    GOP Still Split on Graham-Cassidy Health Care Bill

    [NATL] GOP Lawmakers Split on Graham-Cassidy Health Care Bill

    Republicans expect to vote next week on a health care bill known as Graham-Cassidy, named for the senators who wrote it, which would scale back Medicaid. Some GOP lawmakers are split on the newest effort to undo Obamacare, while Democrats are planning for more demonstrations against it.

    (Published Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017)