WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department's watchdog says a now-defunct Obama-era initiative that showed leniency to certain drug offenders had its intended effect of reducing mandatory minimum punishments.
But in a report released Tuesday, the department's inspector general also said inconsistent record-keeping makes it hard to fully understand the impact of the "Smart on Crime" initiative. Former Attorney General Eric Holder in 2013 told the nation's federal prosecutors to rein in their use of long, mandatory minimum sentences for some drug criminals in order to focus resources elsewhere.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions reversed that effort in May, directing prosecutors to pursue the toughest punishments against most suspects. The inspector general says the change underscores the need for better data-collection to measure the new policy.