Under Jeff Sessions, the Department of Justice will reverse this policy, despite a growing consensus to reduce incarceration of drug offenders.
"They deserve to be un-handcuffed and not micromanaged from Washington", he said.
"Mandatory minimum sentences have unfairly and disproportionately incarcerated too many minorities for too long", he said in a statement.
"We know drugs and crime go hand in hand", Sessions said.
Holder agreed with Collins, stating "The policy announced today is not tough on crime".
"In removing the discretion I vested in the men and women of the Department of Justice to seek justice for the unique circumstances that each case presents, this administration reveals its lack of faith in their judgment and integrity", he wrote.
It's believed Sessions is seeking to use this new directive as a tool to in the Trump administration's war on drugs, a throwback to failed decades of US policy that has not only not worked but destroyed the lives of millions of Americans.
In a study published last October, a group of researchers from Washington University in St. Louis explained, "This is because corrections spending ignores costs borne by incarcerated persons, families, children, and communities". Sessions is directing federal prosecutors to pursue the most serious charges possible against the vast majority of suspects, a reversal of Obama-era policies that is sure to send more people to prison and for much longer terms. Half of all federal inmates serving sentences in 2015 were there on drug charges, and only seven percent for violent crimes; black Americans are jailed on drug offenses at a rate 10 times greater than whites, despite the fact that black and white people use drugs at about the same rates.
Sessions is ending Obama administration policies that told federal prosecutors to avoid charging low-level offenders with crimes that carry heavy mandatory sentences.
He says the policy is simply an application of sentencing laws approved by Congress.
The move swiftly drew outrage from progressives.
"This is a disastrous move that will increase the prison population, exacerbate racial disparities in the criminal justice system, and do nothing to reduce drug use or increase public safety", said Michael Collins, deputy director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. Attorney General Sessions is doing more for black communities than all of the grievance lobbies and the leniency-grievance complex put together. "So we are returning to the enforcement of the law as passed by Congress - plain and simple".
Even if judges oppose the new DOJ policy, there isn't much they can do in response.
The new memo says prosecutors can only seek the less-than-harshest charges and penalties if they clear it with the USA attorney or attorney general.
Saunders added that the shift in policy could have especially risky ripple effects at a time when the state is dealing with a new sort of drug crisis. Before that, prosecutors were operating under a couple of memos issued by Holder under the Obama administration.
"This was fiscally smart and compassionate policy that started to stem the tide of mass incarceration in our country", he said.
The document effectively nullifies former Attorney General Eric Holder's policy to be "smart on crime" to mitigate excessively harsh penalties for nonviolent offenses, like drug possession, the report said.
In recent years, however, there has been growing bipartisan interest among some in Congress, the USA states and the courts to reevaluate lengthy prison terms.
"Dumb on Crime " Sessions' order for tougher sentencing for non-violent drug crimes reignites the war on drugs and promotes overcrowded prisons. Instead, the local courts and diversion programs treat "alcoholism and drug addiction as a disease and not a moral failing".
And there is nothing that Attorney General Sessions can do to stop this peoples' movement. "I'm not sure we're going to be a better, healthier nation if we have marijuana sold at every corner grocery store".