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.
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"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Sessions also rescinded an Obama-era plan to phase out the federal government's use of private prisons.