Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Mandatory minimums

Here's just the latest example of just how screwed up our courts can be. Legislators really need to correct the problems with mandatory minimums, it is insane how we sentence first time offenders, and non-violent drug offenders. Judges are frustrated because they have no leeway to impose appropriate sentences that fit the crime. Prosecutors could be fair and charge people with lesser crimes, or ones that don't carry mandatory minimums, but then they are seen as "soft on crime", the cardinal sin for politicians. So, to keep their jobs, they prosecute, or offer plea deals, but rarely drop any charges, or amend them to fit a more fair penalty phase.

Accross the board, our policies in the drug war are insane and evil. The property siezures, the huge prison sentences, the anti-drug ads all are draconian responses to an un-winable war. Here in the "land of the free", we lock up more of our citizens than any other country, and around half of those prisoners are non-violent drug offenders. Money quote from the linked article-

"...Angelos, 25, will serve more time than rapists, murderers or airline hijackers -- and won't be eligible for release until he's 70."

For dealing pot and carrying a pistol.


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