Should we be emptying the federal and state prisons?


As you have seen from my 5-part-series on the Drug War, it is a flop. Part of the “flop” is the internment of drug offenders in prisons. Nonetheless, the current notion that the majority of our prison inmates are there for drug possession is spurious.

[Source: Obama’s Tragic Let ’em Out Fantasy, by Heather MacDonald]

Our state prison population (which accounts for 87% of the nation’s prisoners) is dominated by violent criminals and serial thieves. In 2013 drug offenders made up less than 16% of the state-prison population; violent felons were 54% and property offenders 19%. Reducing drug-related admissions to 15 large state penitentiaries by half would lower those states’ prison count by only 7%, according to the Urban Institute.

In federal prisons—which hold only 13% of the nation’s prisoners—drug offenders make up half of the inmate population. But these offenders aren’t casual drug users; overwhelmingly, they are serious traffickers. Fewer than 1% of drug offenders sentenced in federal court in 2014 were convicted of simple drug possession, according to the U.S. Sentencing Commission. Most of those possession convictions were plea-bargained down from trafficking charges.

So, let us release those who do not belong in long-term incarceration. But, frankly, I don’t trust Obama or his Justice Department to be making these decisions.

Roy Filly

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About Roy Filly

Please read my first blog in which I describe myself and my goals.
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5 Responses to Should we be emptying the federal and state prisons?

  1. trailbee says:

    Would you be wiling, on a happier day, to re-examine each and every convicted felon on the basis of NO PLEA BARGAINING? None. And then come back and ask us this same question again?
    Please, don’t misunderstand, I have no problem with your ideas, but I always wonder how much plea bargaining serves the offender, leaving the rest of us without much recourse. Just a thought.

    • Roy Filly says:

      I don’t have an answer for you but I believe prosecutors are smart enough to get a quid pro quo for a plea bargain that they believe is in the best interests of the community they serve.

  2. trailbee says:

    Thank you.

  3. Bill Grisham CPA says:

    The only reason a person should be locked away is because they are a danger to the life, liberty or property of the rest of us! Failure to conform to statutory dictates or pay a tax one cannot afford is not sufficient cause. Once you threaten to or actually take someone’s property or liberty, you walk into the jurisdiction of the legal justice system and shame on you. If there is no damaged, complaining party, there is no crime. And government cannot claim to be damaged because you refuse to pay any tax.

  4. queenoftheforrest says:

    http://www.annavonreitz.com/
    Go to this Jusdge’s website. Wish we had one in California like her.

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