Our prisons are filled with people who shouldn’t be there. As this blog has noted minimum mandatory drug sentencing destroys more lives than do the drugs that are outlawed. And the extraordinary sentences served by nonviolent drug offenders have undermined American claims that our system of justice is fair and impartial, especially in Florida where one can be convicted without knowledge of drugs. Those involved in the criminal justice system such as prosecutors, judges and even Clearwater Criminal Defense Lawyers find that long sentences for nonviolent drug offenses are no longer extraordinary in a grinding process that continues to destroy lives at a blinding pace.
|Van Gogh, The Prison Courtyard|
Today the NYT notes a recent Justice Department report that “public safety can be maximized without maximizing prison population.” Who knew? It’s a little late for the 218, 000 federal prisoners waiting for a justice system to catch up to common sense. And too bad for the many prisoners held in Tampa Bay, Florida for nonviolent drug crimes.
Your Clearwater Drug Defense Attorney recommends the following actions:
- The minimum mandatory sentence laws should either be abolished or be applicable only for violent crimes.
- By law prosecutors should be given less discretion in making charging decisions that force plea agreements and high sentences because of the fear that other charges will be added to an indictment or charging information.
- Our Judges need to be given more discretion to reduce minimum mandatory sentences.
- The Federal Bureau of Prisons should be given more incentives and direction to allow old prisoners, sick prisoners and nonviolent drug prisoners out of prison where there is little likelihood of recidivism without the need for Court Hearings unless either party objects to a reduction of sentence.