Letter: Lock them all up
Jefferson Beauregard Sessions is the U.S. attorney general. I guess the word “general” just goes with that Southern combination. Anyway, our AG has declared that crime is so rampant that we must re-enact the steepest penalties allowed by law to stem the tide. Sessions has sent a memo to all federal prosecutors instructing them to pursue the “most serious, readily provable offense” for their cases. The most “serious” crimes are determined by which offenses carry the longest sentences, according to guidelines. (ABC News)
The reason given by Sessions was the “dramatic increase” in crime touted by him and Trump during the campaign. However, historically, nationwide the numbers are much lower than 20 or 30 years ago. Here’s info from FactCheck.org: “For example, the number of murders in Dallas peaked at 500 in 1991, but dropped to nearly half that (231) in 2000, according to data from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Statistics. But Trump pointed to a New York Times story on an uptick in 2015 in the number of murders in several cities, including Dallas, as compared with 2014. The Times report showed a 17 percent increase in murders (an increase of 12 murders) in Dallas for January through August 2015 compared with the same time period for 2014.” Sounds like an epidemic to me.
Perhaps there is another reason for AG Sessions to issue his new order: private prisons. Sally Yates, as deputy attorney general, had issued instructions to reduce the use of private prisons because of falling prison populations. This caused the stocks of CoreCivic and GEO, the two largest private prison companies in the U.S., to fall dramatically. After the Trump election the stocks rose 43 and 21 percent, respectively. On Feb. 21, Attorney General Sessions rescinded the order that the private prisons be phased out. Following the announcement, the prison companies enjoyed another jump in share prices. From Non-Profit Quarterly: “Now, we read in The Nation that in October, just before the election, two of Sessions’ former Senate aides, David Stewart and Ryan Robichaux, became lobbyists for GEO Group, one of the two largest private prison companies, and that the two were specifically engaged to lobby on government contracting.”
GEO and CoreCivic donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Trump campaign committees, as well as to the inauguration. The Campaign Legal Center filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, alleging that the GEO Group was breaking the law by donating to a political committee as a federal contractor. Hey Mr. AG, you do know it is against the law for federal contractors to donate to political committees, don’t you? Perhaps they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Doubtful.
Craig S. Chisesi
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