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Renewing the drug war?

April 9, 2017
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Disturbing piece in the Washington post by Sari Horwitz: How Jeff Sessions wants to bring back the war on drugs

This article focuses not just on Sessions, but also Stephen Cook.

Steven H. Cook, a former street cop who became a federal prosecutor based in Knoxville, Tenn., saw nothing wrong with how the system worked — not the life sentences for drug charges, not the huge growth of the prison population. And he went everywhere — Bill O’Reilly’s show on Fox News, congressional hearings, public panels — to spread a different gospel.

“The federal criminal justice system simply is not broken. In fact, it’s working exactly as designed,” Cook said at a criminal justice panel at The Washington Post last year. […]

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has brought Cook into his inner circle at the Justice Department, appointing him to be one of his top lieutenants to help undo the criminal justice policies of Obama and former attorney general Eric H. Holder Jr. As Sessions has traveled to different cities to preach his tough-on-crime philosophy, Cook has been at his side.

Sessions has yet to announce specific policy changes, but Cook’s new perch speaks volumes about where the Justice Department is headed.

I would like to believe that we have accomplished enough in recent years in a bipartisan effort to increase awareness of the need for criminal justice reform and to point out the destructive aspects of the war on drugs that simply putting people like Sessions and Cook in power wouldn’t be enough to undo that work.

But it makes it clear, unfortunately, that we can’t assume progress will continue uninterrupted.

“If there was a flickering candle of hope that remained for sentencing reform, Cook’s appointment was a fire hose,” said Ring, of FAMM. “There simply aren’t enough backhoes to build all the prisons it would take to realize Steve Cook’s vision for America.”

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Pete Guither is the editor of drugwarrant.com

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