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May 22, 2005

Another potent editorial against mandatories

In a number of prior posts (which are linked below), I assembled excerpts from many editorials criticizing the House's consideration of HR 1279 and HR 1528, the gang and drug sentencing bills which include a number of harsh mandatory minimums.  Today, in this editorial entitled "Mandatory minimums a smoke screen," the Freeport Journal Standard (Illinois) adds these similar sentiments:

Both [the gang and drug] bills have drawn fierce opposition from human rights, religious and civil rights groups, and are vehemently opposed by the American Bar Association.  But in their zeal to bang the old "tough on crime" drum, the GOP rages forward, undaunted and oblivious to the obvious hypocrisy.

For example, even as states across the nation, not to mention Great Britain, Canada and Russia, move toward decriminalization of small amounts of cannabis, the proposed new law requires anyone convicted in federal court of passing a joint to someone who ever set foot in drug treatment to prison for a minimum of five years — 10 years for a second offense.  Meanwhile, the average time served by convicted rapists in America is about seven years....

[W]rites USA Today, in a May 17 editorial, "It's time for a serious debate on whether massive arrests of low-level users are worth the cost or having any benefit."  Ronald Reagan sold the nation on a "drug war" targeting cocaine cartels and hard drugs in crime-infested inner cities.  Now it's a self-perpetuating and profitable de facto war against the nation's young people — rural, urban and in between.

No, the real threat to America isn't "judicial activism." It is the insanity of putting more and more Americans in prison for low-level drug crimes — leaving millions of broken families, newly dependent on government handouts, behind.

Here are some recent posts with other similar criticisms of HR 1279 and HR 1528:

May 22, 2005 at 10:00 AM | Permalink


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» Editorial Slams Mandatory Minimum Sentences from TalkLeft: The Politics of Crime
Law Prof Doug Berman of Sentencing Law and Policy has a round-up of weekend law blog posts on sentencing issues. He also has a terrific roundup of mandatory minimum sentencing links including one to today's Journal Standard editorial slamming mandatory... [Read More]

Tracked on May 22, 2005 5:49:40 PM


I need help! I am a
Mom, whose son was
court ordered to do drug
treatment. My son was
willing to do it as he is now the father
of a 3 month old baby, He was
very anxious to be with his son.

He participated with
the treatment at Kent
Regional facility, and
did well. he thought
he would be place in a
out patient program, but was instead
they tried to place him in
a faith based treatment
cente. He was told absolutely
no visitors. He never
entered that treatment.

This is my very long way of
asking if you know whether he
can be forced into this type of treatment.
He wants treatment just not 6 months of religious
training. he is a Christian
but though he would not
succeed in this type treatment.

Posted by: Jean | May 22, 2005 8:40:05 PM

I am a human services major with a criminal justice minor. i just want to draw attention to the fact that mandatory minimums effect other charges. My mate was given mandatory minimum sentences for driving....a 49 cc scooter at that. this law needs to be repealed on all cases, not just drug offenses.

Posted by: Toni | Apr 13, 2008 7:28:42 PM

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