US prosecutors told to push for more, harsher punishments

The move will send more people to prison and for much longer terms by triggering mandatory minimum sentences.

Sessions claims in his memo that "charging and sentencing recommendations are crucial responsibilities for any federal prosecutor".

Inimai Chettiar, the director of the Brennan Center's Justice Program said in a statement that Mr Sessions "is leaving little to no room for prosecutors to use their judgement and determine what criminal charges best fit the crime".

The memo allows for "good judgment" by a prosecutor in cases that need to sway from the new guidelines.

A spokeswoman with the U.S. Attorney's Office in Sacramento told ABC10 Friday that they are reviewing Sessions' memo.

Paul has pushed for reforms to the criminal justice system, including reduction of mandatory minimum sentences on drug crimes, expungement of felony records and restoration of voting rights, though the proposals haven't garnered enough support to get a floor vote.

According to CNN, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a one and a half page memo outlining the Justice Department's charging and sentencing policy.

The policies caused prison populations to skyrocket, but no demographic was hit harder than black and Latino men.

"The Justice Department's shift to prosecuting and incarcerating more offenders, including low-level and drug offenders, is an ineffective way to protect public safety", Law Enforcement Leaders member and former U.S. Attorney for Utah Brett Tolman said in a statement. Holder himself responded, calling the policy "dumb on crime", "ideologically motivated", and "cookie cutter".

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The new policy is expected to lead to more federal prosecutions and an increase in the federal prison population. Holder's 2013 "Smart on Crime" policy initiative was aimed at encouraging shorter sentences for nonviolent drug offenders, thus freeing up resources to pursue more serious and violent criminals.

"We will do all that we can to keep you safe and promote public support for honorable officers in your unsafe work", Sessions said.

The policy change takes place immediately, even though almost all the U.S. attorneys across the county are serving in acting roles, following the request for resignation in March of all remaining as holdovers from the Obama administration.

Twenty-three USA states since 2007 have changed their sentencing laws to reserve prison space for the most serious or repeat offenders, according to the nonpartisan Pew Research Center.

"This policy fully utilizes the tools Congress has given us", the attorney general's memo says. The implementation of Sessions' memo will be overseen by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Officials say Holder's "Smart on Crime" policy "convoluted the process", and left prosecutors applying the law unevenly, which they said "is not Justice". "It's our job to put people who deserve to be there and to enforce the law", Morganelli said.

"First, it is a core principle that prosecutors should charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense".

The federal change is also likely to increase the number of people in the United States who are sentenced to USA prison.

"Jeff Sessions wants to turn back the clock on the progress we've made, and we're going to have to fight and speak out against it", she added.