Ses­sions adding 300 pros­e­cu­tors — DOJ’s big­gest boost in decades

USA TODAY US Edition - - NEWS - Christal Hayes

WASHINGTON – U.S. At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions is adding more than 300 pros­e­cu­tors around the na­tion to fight the opioid epi­demic, vi­o­lent crime and im­mi­gra­tion vi­o­la­tions.

The 311 new as­sis­tant at­tor­ney po­si­tions will mark the big­gest ad­di­tion of pros­e­cu­tors in decades, the Depart­ment of Justice said.

The pros­e­cu­tors will be de­ployed through­out the U.S., with 190 fo­cused on vi­o­lent crimes, 86 on civil enforcement and 35 on im­mi­gra­tion-re­lated crimes.

“Un­der Pres­i­dent Trump’s strong lead­er­ship, the Depart­ment of Justice is go­ing on of­fense against vi­o­lent crime, il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion, and the opioid cri­sis — and to­day we are send­ing in re­in­force­ments,” Ses­sions said in a state­ment.

Ses­sions said the mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar en­deavor was made avail­able by cut­ting “waste­ful spend­ing” within the depart­ment. The depart­ment’s 2018 bud­get laid out $1.5 bil­lion in fund­ing redi­rec­tions and $702 mil­lion in pro­gram elim­i­na­tions and re­duc­tions, all of which would have helped pave the way for the hir­ings.

“I have per­son­ally worked to re­pur­pose ex­ist­ing funds to sup­port this crit­i­cal mission, and as a for­mer fed­eral pros­e­cu­tor my­self, my ex­pec­ta­tions could not be higher,” Ses­sions said. “These ex­cep­tional and tal­ented pros­e­cu­tors are key lead­ers in our crime fight­ing part­ner­ship.”

Ses­sions said many of the po­si­tions in civil enforcement will be fo­cused on his depart­ment’s newly cre­ated task force tar­get­ing opi­oids.

Opioid dis­trib­u­tors and man­u­fac­tur­ers have been a fo­cus of the depart­ment since star­tling statis­tics showed an alarm­ing in­crease in drug-re­lated deaths. In 2016, more than 42,000 peo­ple died of over­doses from opi­oids.

Jeff Ses­sions

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