Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) on Tuesday slammed Attorney General Jeff Sessions for his "tough-on-crime" policies at an event held to address rising incarceration rates for women.
"The answer is not to build more prisons and the answer is certainly not to privatize those prisons … And the answer, Jeff Sessions, is not to return to relying on mandatory minimum sentences," Harris said to cheers.
"We need to be smarter," Harris said. "We need to be smarter."
Sessions issued a memo in May to federal prosecutors urging them to "pursue the most serious, readily provable" offenses that by definition "carry the most substantial guidelines sentence, including mandatory minimums."
This was a drastic shift from the orders under Attorney General Eric Holder, who in 2013 urged federal prosecutors to be more lenient with nonviolent low-level drug offenders, the Hill reported.
Sessions also rescinded an Obama-era plan to phase out the federal government's use of private prisons.