sixteen years?

 

re:

“This small Indiana county sends more people to prison than San Francisco and Durham, N.C., combined. Why?,” The New York Times, September 2, 2016

Donnie Gaddis picked the wrong county to sell 15 oxycodone pills to an undercover officer.

If Mr. Gaddis had been caught 20 miles to the east, in Cincinnati, he would have received a maximum of six months in prison, court records show. In San Francisco or Brooklyn, he would probably have received drug treatment or probation, lawyers say.

But Mr. Gaddis lived in Dearborn County, Ind., which sends more people to prison per capita than nearly any other county in the United States. After agreeing to a plea deal, he was sentenced to serve 12 years in prison.

“Years? Holy Toledo — I’ve settled murders for a lot less than that,” said Philip Stephens, a public defender in Cincinnati.

Also note:

“Correction,” The New York Times, September 3, 2016

An article on Friday about a boom in prisons in mostly white, rural and politically conservative areas referred incompletely to the sentencing of Donnie Gaddis, who was charged with selling oxycodone pills to an undercover officer. While Indiana law required him to serve 12 years, he was sentenced to 16 years, not to 12.

******************************************************

Here’s my short take on this shocking and depressing news story, for what it’s worth.

Our so called criminal “justice” system is supposed to be a rational one. It’s anything but.

There is no logic, rationality, or fairness to it whatsoever.

The punishment described in this article — 16 years for selling 115 oxycodone pills to an undercover officer — is draconian, unjust, cruel.

And, of course, the offender, Donnie Gaddis, was entrapped, set up by an undercover officer.

And, we supposedly live in a civilized society governed by enlightened laws which other societies and times either did not or still do not have the benefit of.

I also feel that our whole policy with respect to laws governing drugs is misguided, to put it kindly.

It was a victimless crime. It involved drugs, which don’t seem to me much worse than alcohol. So someone made an illegal sale? Sixteen years? How about zero years? Or how about a mandated drug treatment program?

What harm was done to anyone by this supposedly horrendous crime by this supposedly vile creature?

The “criminal justice” system is staffed by bottom feeders who go after petty criminals who are easy to set up and arrest. It keeps the functionaries of the system busy and employed; gives them something remunerative to do; fattens their arrest and conviction records and lines their pockets as public employees; makes them look good (in their own eyes, at least).

All at the expense of the losers who get caught in the web and punished unfairly.

Totally unfairly.

 

– Roger W. Smith

  September 2016

 

*********************************************

 

addendum:

JUST

adjective

definition: based on or behaving according to what is morally right and fair (“a just and democratic society”)

synonyms: fair, fair-minded, equitable, even-handed, impartial, unbiased, objective, neutral, disinterested, unprejudiced, open-minded, nonpartisan

antonym: unfair

origin: late Middle English: via Old French from Latin justus, from jus (law, right)

‘CRIMINAL “JUSTICE”? — a joke

 

Roger W. Smith

September 4, 2016

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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