In remarks before the Gatlinburg Law Enforcement Training Conference in Tennessee yesterday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions told the audience that “the War on Crime and Drugs did not fail; it was a rousing success.”
Sessions cited the reduction in drug use statistics among high school seniors and national homicide rates during the 1980s as evidence of the success. However, Sessions did not note that in the 1980s, our prison population doubled with almost no change in property crime rates.
There was a decline in violent crime rates, but Sessions fails to observe that aside from marijuana, the lowest teen drug use rates ever recorded for every drug in every grade at every frequency have all happened since 2012 (as shown in infographic below for Patrons of The Marijuana Agenda podcast).
Sessions asserted that only conservatives can formulate successful law enforcement policies. “The success came as a direct result of rejecting the criticism and policies of the progressive left,” Sessions explained.
“The fuzzy-headed left rejected those sound professional policies,” Sessions continued, “but they were adopted over their objections.”
Sessions went on to quote the work of two University of Utah researchers, Paul Cassel and Richard Fowles, who analyzed the increase in homicides in Chicago over the years 2015 and 2016. Sessions told the law enforcement crowd that “they concluded the 58 percent increase was caused by the abrupt decline in ‘stop and frisks’ in 2015…. These scholars called it ‘the ACLU Effect.'”
But as Mother Jones noted, New York City also reined in its ‘stop and frisk’ tactics and their homicide rate declined. Six of the twenty largest cities also saw a spike in homicides, but made no significant changes to their ‘stop and frisk’ policies. And Chicago had experienced a 15 percent increase in homicides the year before while ‘stop and frisk’ was in full effect.
Chicago homicides are something people in the Trump Campaign (I don’t call it an “administration” anymore) like to bring up because it serves as an effective dog whistle for “scary violent young black men, they’re the gun problem.” Here, Sessions also gets to use it to pillory the conservatives’ whipping boy, the ACLU.
Sessions’ speech was red meat for the ‘tough on crime’ crowd, a call for more aggressive police tactics that have led to numerous violations of civil rights and establishing the ‘land of the free’ as the world’s largest jailer.
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