Here are a few interesting facts about our prison system:
1. In 1982, it cost $9 billion to house inmates in local, state, and federal lockups......By 1999 the cost had risen to $49 billion...........................................Therefore, as our nation's prison population grows, so too does the cost of keeping millions of Americans behind bars.
2. The American Bar Association is asking for an overhaul of mandatory minimum-sentencing laws. The ABA report offers recommendations that could fix a problem that threatens to turn our democracy into a penal colony.
3. Last month, ABA President Dennis Archer said: "For more than 20 years, we have gotten tougher on crime. Now we need to get smarter ... The system is broken. We need to fix it."
4. Next month, attorneys from around our nation will gather for the ABA'S annual meeting in Atlanta, and the body's House of Delegates will be asked to adopt recommendations that call for the repeal of federal and state mandatory minimum- sentencing statutes.
5. Ross Alan Milburn, an inmate at the federal prison in Florence, Colorado, says "He's seen too many young men enter the prison with mandatory-minimum sentences, some of them drawing life without parole for non-violent drug crimes."............There is a big difference between the criminal mind of a mass murderer and the mind of a man who engages in and conducts an illegal business," said Milburn about non-violent drug dealers who get mandatory sentences. "The criminal mind of a drug-dealer is not much different from that of a Wall Street Stockbroker ripping off his clients or a CEO ripping off his company. But they never get sentenced to life with no parole," Milburn wrote.
6. Milburn says, "I just wanted to rend you that there are some drug dealers who admit their guilt and deserve harsh punishment, but sentencing them to the same time as people like Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, serial killer Gary Ridgeway, and mass-murderer Charles Manson, is unfair."
7. The nation's penal institutions have swelled with offenders who got "one-size fits all" sentences mandated by legislators, not the judges and juries that heard their cases.
8. It is time to rethink a policy that gives out long, mandatory prison sentences to non-violent criminals.
Thank you for reading this. As you go about your daily life, you can thinkabout this. I was never aware of so many things in the prison system. In fact, I never really wanted to even think about the prison system....that is, until one day, I met and married a man who had committed a crime....a man, named Jimmy, my husband, whom I fell in love with. Then I realized how important it is to read about and to understand the prison system in our country and what is happening. Thank you again, and please leave your comments......Fran