DOJ to crack down harder on criminals

by: DaShawn Brown Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Department of Justice said it's cracking down on crime starting with an order released last week urging prosecutors to go after criminals hard, and for the most serious offense they can prove

U.S. Attorney Jill Westmoreland Rose said Thursday that before the order, prosecutors felt restrained with what they could charge someone, or for how long they could sentence them.

“Certainly, I think that has contributed to the rise in violent crime we've seen,” she said.

Her comments came in the midst of the district's largest gang bust in the area when authorities arrested more than 70 people for crimes ranging from robbery to homicide.

The policy isn't tough on crime, it's dumb on crime, former Attorney General Eric Holder said in a tweet.

He fears future sentences could be too long and unfair.

Ramona Brant of Charlotte spent 21 years in prison on non-violent drug charges, but was first sentenced to life.

Last year, a pardon from former President Barack Obama set her free.

“There's no prejudice when it comes to these laws,” Brant said. “Anybody can get caught up in it.”

President Donald Trump’s administration is taking steps to increase the number of beds at private prisons.

A notice last month indicates an increase of more than 1,600, which could bring the total to nearly 23,000.