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March 16, 2006

Rhode Island considering reducing drug sentences

As detailed in this AP story, "Rhode Island legislators are considering a bill that would eliminate minimum sentences for some drug crimes and give judges more leeway to direct first-time offenders to treatment programs."  Here are some more details:

Current state law requires judges to sentence offenders to at least 10 years in prison for possession or sale of one ounce or more of heroin or cocaine.  People convicted with more than a kilogram of the drugs receive a minimum of 20 years in prison.

A Senate bill would eliminate the mandatory minimums and give judges more discretion.  The maximum sentence would be 30 years, instead of the current life behind bars.

Sen. Harold Metts, D-Providence, said he introduced the bill in part to help first-time offenders who may benefit from drug treatment and rehabilitation programs.  "Some people learn from their mistakes," said Metts, a Baptist deacon who volunteers at Rhode Island's state prison.  "But if you're going to be locked up for 20 years, you're probably going to come out a worse person than when you went in."

Members of Congress, are you listening?

March 16, 2006 at 08:53 PM | Permalink

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Comments

This little State is a disturbing magnified microcosm of small minded thinking in America. Rhode Island can not afford it’s foolish incarceration Laws , yet, it willingly puts people behind bars for miniscule amounts of Marijuana, which is legal under new Medical initiatives. Many people who do not have political access or the financial ability too receive a license are simply put into the jail system for possession of a drug that they need. Rhode Island does absolutely nothing for people who have addictions to major drugs that need treatment. This State has more untreated people who really need help, end up being herded into its prison system. These foolish decisions of a few will have great and long lasting catastrophic effects for future generations. Stand up for what you believe and tell your elected officials that this baboon behavior has to end now.

Posted by: | Jul 24, 2007 1:03:12 AM

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