Prisoners Coming Home to Roost

 

There are many in American society who have advanced the argument that it is a matter most vile to spend taxpayer dollars on attempts to educate or rehabilitate offenders.  – Derek Irvin 

COMMENTARY

The 1994 crime bill passed by the United States Congress explicitly prohibited inmates from receiving Pell grants by stating:  “No basic grant shall be  awarded…to any individual who is incarcerated in any Federal or State penal institution (Korte, 2016).  Surely people who break laws of a system should be punished.  However, the system should too provide an opportunity to rehabilitate and restore!  Surely the prisoners will eventually come home to roost.

Korte, G. (2016).  Pell grants for prisoners:  Obama to give inmates a second chance at college.  Retrieved from USATODAY.com/story/news/politics/2016

Stop Saying the System is Broken!

This Father’s Day will be my 12th in a row without my daughter, Mandy. She’s been in federal prison for the last 12 years, serving a 15-year mandatory minimum sentence. She dated a drug dealer for a month and got punished for everything he did (FAMM, 2016).   CLICK HERE! to watch her story.

COMMENTARY (Repost from 2016)

The narrative has long been about Black men.  This story should now awaken many others to think more deeply about our “broken” system of “justice”.  I once thought the system was “broken”, not so any more.  Now,  I support Shaun King’s and others position, “Stop staying the system is broken.  It’s this way on purpose!” 

The mission of the criminal justice system is to create a just and safe society. – David Keene (former NRA president).  Period, Case-Closed!

 

Success Story: Elizabeth Melson

Elizabeth at HeritageLet’s face it: every once in a while, you just need to hear a story with a happy ending. The U.S. criminal justice system has some devastating effects, and here at FAMM, every day we hear from people in prison and their families about how the criminal justice system is failing them. We share these stories to reform unjust sentences, and we’re grateful to have them to share.

But earlier this year, we decided that we needed to share some good news, too. In order to advocate for change, it’s necessary to demonstrate what that change could ultimately look like. So we expanded our profiles to include success stories – stories of people who get a second chance at life and make the most of it.

Click (FAMM, 2016) for more about Elizabeth’s story.

Commentary

We better all get on board.  It is time we give the nations offenders a second chance.  Period, Case-Closed!

30 Years of Mandatory Sentencing

FOR 30 YEARS, federal law has utilized an array of mandatory minimum sentences for various drug offenses. Those laws and other mandatory minimums have come under attack for the impact they have on individuals and the criminal justice system as a whole. Mandatory minimums are unjust, do not rehabilitate people, and are a waste of taxpayer dollars. We live in a time when 77 percent of the public agrees it is time to reform our mandatory minimum laws.  (FAMM, 2016)

COMMENTARY

Pay attention this year to the conversations and debates surrounding mandatory sentencing. It is a chief reason we have mass incarceration in this nation.  Period, Case-Closed!

$1000 of Marijuana 55-year Sentence

This story is a by FAMM (Families Against Mandatory Sentencing):

Thirteen years ago I was standing outside the federal court house in Salt Lake City, Utah, awaiting the sentencing of 23-year-old Weldon Angelos. Together with his family and advocates from across the state, we rallied for the fair sentencing of a father of three who was caught selling $1,000 worth of marijuana to a confidential informant. Despite our best efforts, Weldon was sentenced to 55 years in prison for his offense. His own judge called the sentence “unjust, cruel, and even irrational.” In spite of the judge’s objection, his hands were tied by mandatory minimum sentencing laws. Weldon was sent to prison, 600 miles from his family, to await his release at 80 years old.

Three weeks ago, I received one of the best phone calls of my life. After 13 years in prison, Weldon was home with his family. And this week, I got to celebrate Weldon’s freedom with him, his son Jesse, and the staff at FAMM!  Thankfully, Weldon’s story has a happy ending. But there are thousands like him who are serving excessive mandatory prison sentences. Just like Weldon, there are mothers and fathers across the country who have been separated from their children for lengthy and unnecessary periods of time. Just like Weldon, there are judges who have spoken out against the mandatory sentences they are forced to impose. – FAMM

COMMENTARY:

Judges are trained in the area of law.  They should be allowed therefore to judge. Otherwise, let the robots run the criminal justice system. – Period, Case-Closed!

Regarding Justice

justice scales

In visiting the question about “justice”, in the sense of “fairness in distribution” or “what is deserved”, an injustice, then, occurs when some benefit to which a person is entitled is denied without good reason or when some burden is imposed unduly. (Office for Human Resource Protections, 2016)

COMMENTARY

Mandatory sentencing laws require binding prison terms of a particular length for people convicted of certain federal and state crimes; they are inflexible and a one-type fits all, quick-fix solution for crime.  These laws undermine justice by preventing judges from fitting the punishment to the crime. Mandatory sentencing laws cause federal and state prison populations to soar, leading to the overcrowding (or mass incarceration), and exorbitant costs to taxpayers (FAMM, 2016).  Mandatory sentencing does not make good economical nor common sense (Irvin, 2016). Period, Case-Closed!