“One year out”: A Criminal “Justice” System Run Amok

 

 

re:

One year out: On July 13, 2015, President Obama commuted the prison sentences of 46 nonviolent drug offenders. Here’s what their lives are like now.

The Washington Post

July 8, 2016

http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/opinions/wp/2016/07/08/one-year-out/?hpid=hp_no-name_opinion-card-d%3Ahomepage%2Fstory

 

 

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From the introduction to the article:

President Obama granted clemency to 46 nonviolent drug offenders in July 2015.

Washington Post reporters and editors tracked down the individuals who received clemency and have recorded their stories in condensed form.

[President Obama] granted clemency to 46 nonviolent drug offenders last July [2015], many of whom were sentenced under laws that no  longer exist ….

More than 40 Post reporters and editors worked to track down the individuals who received clemency … and record their stories, which we present here in condensed form.

 

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This article is highly pertinent in view of our insane sentencing policies.

I think it should be considered for a Pulitzer Prize.

It makes one feel and realize in very human terms how horrible the criminal “justice” system is and what its draconian sentences for petty crimes have done and are doing to people and their families.

Note that a preponderance of those incarcerated who have suffered horrible deprivation for victimless “crimes” are black.

Surprised?

 

 

— Roger W. Smith

      July 2016

 

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In this great country, when a court makes a mistake, we like to believe that the system is just and corrections are available, but that’s not always the case. Don’t ever go to prison in this country — stay away from the criminal justice system. It is an industry out of control, with no one willing or able to tackle it and implement true, humane fairness and justice.

— John M. Wyatt, Las Cruces, N.M. (one of the ex-offenders granted clemency who are quoted in the article)

 

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Addendum: the following are the charges — for victimless crimes — brought against and the sentences that were given to the 46 felons who were interviewed for the article:

life in prison for distribution of crack

60 months in prison for cultivation of marijuana plants; 20 years in prison for conspiracy to manufacture, distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than 1,000 marijuana plants

life in prison for possession and distribution of crack, and for aiding and abetting

180 months in prison for conspiracy to distribute in excess of 50 grams of crack, and for carrying a firearm in relation to a drug-trafficking crime

240 months in prison for possession with intent to distribute crack

240 months in prison for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and crack

240 months in prison for possession with intent to distribute crack

240 months in prison for conspiracy to distribute crack, and for possession with intent to distribute crack

292 months in prison for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and crack

240 months in prison for conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute a mixture and substance containing methamphetamine, possession with the intent to distribute a mixture and substance containing methamphetamine, use of a firearm during and in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime, possession with the intent to distribute a mixture and substance containing cocaine, carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug-trafficking crime, and endeavoring to influence and impede the administration of justice

360 months in prison for conspiracy to violate narcotics laws

life in prison for possession with intent to distribute cocaine, and for possession with intent to distribute marijuana

life in prison for distribution of crack

life in prison for conspiracy to distribute cocaine and crack, and for distribution of crack

360 months in prison for distribution of cocaine

262 months in prison for possession with intent to distribute crack

life in prison for conspiracy to distribute and distribution of crack

262 months in prison for conspiracy to distribute crack

life in prison for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and for distribution of, cocaine and crack

240 months in prison for conspiracy to distribute, and for possession with intent to distribute, more than five kilograms of cocaine and more than 50 grams of crack

life in prison for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and conspiracy to distribute controlled substances

188 months in prison for distribution of crack

240 months in prison for possession with the intent to distribute crack

240 months in prison for conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute marijuana and cocaine, for use of a communication facility to facilitate the commission of a drug-trafficking offense, and for aiding and abetting

240 months in prison for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and for distribution of, five kilograms or more of cocaine and 50 grams or more of crack

262 months in prison for possession with intent to distribute marijuana

About Roger W. Smith

Roger W. Smith is a writer and independent scholar based in New York City. His experience includes freelance writing and editing, business writing, book reviewing, and the teaching of writing and literature as an adjunct professor. Mr. Smith's interests include personal essays and opinion pieces; American and world literature; culture, especially books and reading; current issues that involve social, moral, and philosophical views; and experiences of daily living from a ground level perspective. Besides (1) rogersgleanings.com, a personal site, he also hosts a websites devoted to (2) the author Theodore Dreiser and (3) to the sociologist and social philosopher Pitirim Aleksandrovich Sorokin.
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