(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) released the following statement:


From the beginning, I have shared the deep concerns of many Washington state families about Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ shameful record, his ability to protect our civil liberties, and his capacity to act as an impartial enforcer of our nation’s laws. This week’s new directive from the Department of Justice mandating harsher sentences for non-violent drug offenders only confirms our deepest fears. As drug addiction continues to roil families and communities nationwide, the Attorney General’s most recent actions only serve to roll back the progress we’ve made here in Washington state and across the country to get people the help they need to lead healthy, productive lives. Tying the hands of federal prosecutors so they are unable to exercise independence and discretion in sentencing does nothing to help people overcome addiction and will have an even worse impact on people of color and other communities that are already disproportionately overrepresented in our justice system. Now is not the time to go backwards. Rehabilitation, not incarceration, is the most effective treatment for addiction and should remain our primary focus as we work to reduce our prison population and better serve our communities by curbing the one-size-fits-all punishments of our current criminal justice system.”