Hawaii Attorney General Chin Urges Department of Justice to Rescind Harsh New Sentencing Guidelines

Coalition of States Ask for Dialogue with U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Criminal Justice Issues

Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin joined District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine and attorneys general from 13 other states in calling for United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions to rescind new instructions for Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutors that are neither smart on crime nor good for public safety. The state attorneys general also asked to meet with Sessions to discuss smarter, data-driven approaches to criminal justice policy that are better for public safety and more fiscally sound.

In a letter sent to Sessions, the attorneys general write that “there is a strong and bipartisan national consensus that the harsh sentencing practices reflected in the DOJ policy announced last week do not increase public safety, and that consensus is supported by strong data.” Additionally, they say that “the new DOJ policy runs contrary not only to this consensus, but to basic principles of equal justice and sound fiscal policy.”

Attorney General Chin said, “Jeff Sessions wants to turn back the clock to a generation when sentencing policies impacted minorities unfairly and led to overcrowded prisons. Much research conducted and data analyzed since the time I started as a Honolulu deputy prosecutor in 1998 has taught law enforcement what works better and what is more fair. At a time when crime statewide is relatively low, this new DOJ policy hurts our community.”

Click to read full letter

Joining Attorneys General Chin and Racine in today’s letter are attorneys general from California, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Vermont and Washington state.

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