Trump’s Criminal Justice Executive Orders Build on a Week of Dangerous Rhetoric and Counterproductive Policies

Press Release February 8, 2017
Media Contact

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<p>Bill Piper 202-669-6430<br />
Tony Newman (646) 335-5384</p>

In the last week, President Trump made a number of statements and announcements signaling that he is planning to ramp up the failed drug war, a disturbing departure from criminal justice reforms and progress from recent years.

Today, President Trump issued three Executive Orders on crime and public safety, including one entitled “Executive Order on Enforcing Federal Law with Respect to Transnational Criminal Organizations and Preventing International Trafficking.” The Executive Order offers little of substance, beyond organizing “task forces” to make recommendations on reducing the supply of drugs to the U.S.

Yesterday, at a speech before law enforcement, Trump vowed to be “ruthless” against drug trafficking, and at the swearing-in ceremony for Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Trump commented that drug cartels are “destroying the blood of our youth.”

Also this week, Trump sat down with county sheriffs to discuss law enforcement strategies, and asset forfeiture was a topic widely discussed. It was clear Trump did not know anything about asset forfeiture prior to the meeting, and after he got a one-sided lesson from the law enforcement community he gave it a big thumbs-up. He also threatened to destroy the career of the Texas State Senator who offered a bill seeking to reform the system.

Bill Piper, Senior Director for Drug Policy Alliance’s Office of National Affairs, said the following:

“This rhetoric is dangerous, disturbing, and dishonest. We have had a war on drugs. It has failed. Tough talk may look good before the cameras, but history has taught us that cracking down on drugs and building walls will not stop the supply or use of drugs. It mostly causes the death and destruction of innocent lives. Trump must tone down his outrageous rhetoric and threats, and instead reach out to leadership from both parties to enact a humane and sensible health-based approach to drug policies that both reduce overdose and our country’s mass incarceration crisis.”

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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