Strict drug sentencing for non-violent offenders has led to a state of multiplicity within American penitentiaries. The Attorney General claims the United States prison population has increased by about 800% since the 1980’s. We can take credit for a quarter of the world’s prisoners being held by our justice system. To stop the overpopulation, a more lenient sentence for small time dealers, or those accused of possession is recommended. Alternative methods to prison, such as community service programs and treatment facilities, are also proposed. These changes are expected to bring about fairer punishment, while lessening the economic burden created by an over-crowded prison system. (Perez, 2013)
America’s over-populated prisons have put the squeeze on federal funding. A reform to mandatory minimum drug sentencing is one of the changes being proposed to decrease this population. In a speech to the American Bar Association on Monday, Attorney General Eric Holder, outlined the steps necessary to correct the issue. As part of the overhaul, he suggests we stop imposing a stiff sentence on non-violent drug offenders. These are offenders without ties to major drug cartels. (Justice Dept to drop some mandatory drug sentences, 2013)
Desperate measures were taken during the Reagan era to enforce a drug free America. Along with the “Just say no” campaign associated with Nancy Reagan, President Reagan signed the Anti-Drug Abuse bill into law in 1986. (Just Say No 1982 - 1989, 2010) The mandatory minimum sentencing was part of the Anti-Drug Act and was meant to discourage children from drug use. At that time, the sentencing was seen as effective.
Three decades can bring a lot of changes. In place of the 80’s anti-drug campaign, ads for teen drug and alcohol rehabs can be found advertised on pages reviewing strains of Jack Frost. It is said to have some great benefits. At one time, it was considered a win to hemp supporters when marijuana was approved for medical purposes. Today recreational uses of marijuana are an option in some states, making the idea of mandatory sentencing for non-violent drug offenders seems a bit harsh.
Like Keaton’s fun loving character, Johnny Dangerously, our government works to detour children from a life of crime by demonstrating how ridicules the law is.
Just Say No 1982 - 1989. (2010). Retrieved 08 13, 2013, from Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library: http://www.reaganfoundation.org/details_t.aspxp=RR1005NRL&h1=0&h2=0&sw=&lm=reagan&args_a=cms&args_b=10&argsb=N&tx=1203
Batman Quotes. (2013). Retrieved 08 13, 2013, from IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0096895/quotes
Justice Dept to drop some mandatory drug sentences. (2013, 08 12). Retrieved 08 13, 2013, from Metro: http://www.metro.us/boston/news/2013/08/12/us-usa-crime-sentencing-mandator-drug-sentences/
Perez, D. M. (2013, 08 12). Eric Holder seeks to cut mandatory minimum drug sentences. Retrieved 08 13, 2013, from CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/12/politics/holder-mandatory-minimums