Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Red State Embrace of Sentencing Reform?

Some good news here for anyone who cares about Justice issues and doing things about folks who have been given insanely-long sentences for relatively minor crimes.

Oklahoma is quite possibly the reddest of the red states and they just released over 400 prisoners serving long sentences who--in just about everyone's view--shouldn't have been locked up for so long.

The somewhat-worrisome thing is that it seems to have been done mostly to save money and not necessarily because those very, very long sentences should never have been handed out in the first place.

There are more details here in this story from the Associated Press.

So much more can and should be done about the plight of people serving extremely long sentences in the US.

This is not a simple issue.

A lot of this has happened because of mandatory-minimum sentencing laws which went into effect in many states back in the '80s and '90s.

A lot of it has come about because of how very, very out-of-control the so-called War On Drugs has become.

A lot of it is because of disparities in how Judges and Courts handle the sentencing of different drug-related crimes once a defendant has been convicted.

So while it most certainly is a good thing that the Sooner State has done this, many more states need to get moving on these issues.

And if--at the end of the day--the motivation is not only because the people wrongly sentenced deserve to be treated justly and fairly, then I think we can live with that--for now.

But many, many more Americans need to walk free again.

And in the meantime, we'll keep working on righting the many wrongs in our Justice system which have put so many of our fellows in these fundamentally unjust situations.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

No comments:

Post a Comment