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Sessions Instructs Federal Prosecutors to Seek Harshest Possible Punishments

On Friday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo instructing federal prosecutors to seek stronger sentences against defendants, reversing recent trends toward criminal justice reform.

"It is a core principle that prosecutors should charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense," Sessions wrote.

In 2013, the Obama administration attempted to cut down the nation's prison populations by reducing harsh sentences for non-violent drug offenders. But that period of leniency has seemingly come to an end.

Sessions' memo is likely fueled by the fact that he believes a slight increase in the murder rate in the United States between 2014 and 2015 signals the end of a decades-long period of falling crime rates.