Now, prosecutors must disclose all information about a case to the courts and follow current sentencing rules.
"They deserve to be un-handcuffed and not micromanaged from Washington", he said.
Sessions wrote in his memo to prosecutors this week that the new charging policy "affirms our responsibility to enforce the law, is moral and just, and produces consistency".
The directive abolishes guidance by Sessions' Democratic predecessor, Eric Holder, who said prosecutors could in some cases omit drug quantities from charging documents so as to not generate long sentences.
Violent crime remains at a historic low nationally-violent and property crimes have dropped by a combined 14.6 percent between 2010 and 2015-although it spiked slightly between 2014 and 2015 according to Federal Bureau of Investigation figures; Sessions has used this as evidence that we ought to return to harsher sentencing practices.
"The Trump administration is returning to archaic and deeply-flawed policies", Inimai Chettiar, director of the Brennan Center's Justice Program, said in a statement. "It is dumb on crime", Holder said in a statement obtained by MSNBC's Rachel Maddow.
Meanwhile, Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, offered praise for Sessions' new action, saying "law enforcement should side with the victims of crime rather than its perpetrators".
The Justice Department's own data revealed just previous year that, since I implemented Smart on Crime policies in 2013, prosecutors have used the discretion I gave them to focus on more serious drug cases. Lawmakers established mandatory minimum sentences. Holder mandated that when possible, federal prosecutors should avoid charging certain defendants with crimes that would lead to mandatory minimum sentences. In some cases, mandatory minimum and recidivist enhancements statutes have resulted in unduly harsh sentences and perceived or actual disparities that do not reflect our Principles of Federal Prosecution. Previously, deputy attorney general Sally Yates had ordered the Justice Department to stop using private prisons for federal inmates, due to declining inmate numbers.
Mandatory-minimum sentencing laws, which require judges to impose lengthy sentences on drug offenders no matter what the circumstances, were enacted in the late 1980s during the peak of the crack epidemic as a way for politicians to appear tough on crime.
The move swiftly drew outrage from progressives. The Tweetstorm, which a spokesman referred us to as the AG's official comment on the matter, also contains a short history lesson on the evolution of New York's drug policy.
"In the name of helping communities, this policy destroyed many of them, including the families that live there", Richmond said in a statement.
Saunders added that the shift in policy could have especially unsafe ripple effects at a time when the state is dealing with a new sort of drug crisis. "Tough on crime policies inevitably impact poor and minority communities the most, due in large part to unaddressed implicit bias issues". Each day the ACLU and our allies on the right and left are fighting for an end to mass incarceration. The laws also ballooned the prison population, leading to costs that were unsustainable for some state governments.
"Drug dealers are going to prison", Sessions declared after getting an award from the NYPD's sergeants' union.
"I trust our prosecutors in the field to make good judgments", Sessions said.