U.S. News

U.S. to hire 311 new prosecutors in push against violent crime, drugs

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions delivers remarks at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund’s 30th annual candlelight vigil in Washington, U.S., May 13, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Attorney General Jeff Sessions said on Monday the Justice Department was beefing up its fight against violent crime, drug use and illegal immigration by assigning 311 new prosecutors to work on the problems, the largest increase in decades.

“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.

A spokesman for the Justice Department said the 311 assistant U.S. attorney posts were all new positions and had not yet been filled.

Sessions said he had funded the effort by eliminating spending in other areas and reallocating the money to focus on the priority areas.

“I have personally worked to repurpose existing funds to support this critical mission,” Sessions said in the statement released by the Justice Department.

He said “exceptional and talented prosecutors” were the key to fighting crime, and the addition of 311 new assistant U.S. attorneys represented “the largest increase in decades.”

Reporting by David Alexander; Editing by David Gregorio