Slow Steps To Freedom
October 8, 2015 6:18 PM   Subscribe

A nonviolent drug offender who was granted clemency after 22 years adjusts to life on the outside. "I believe in your ability to prove the doubters wrong." - President Obama

UNWINDING THE DRUG WAR:
This story is the fifth in a continuing series about the legacy of the war on drugs and efforts to reduce the nation’s prison population.
Click to read Part I: The painful price of aging in prison

Click to read Part II: Against his better judgment

Click to read Part III: From a first arrest to a life sentence

Click to read Part IV: Unlikely allies push for sentencing reform
posted by infinite intimation (14 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
Twenty-two fucking years!


There are a number of countries where you wouldn't even stay in that long for murder.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:32 PM on October 8, 2015 [9 favorites]


Yeah, but this is the United States. We're long since past the point where "tough on [X]" means anything other than "completely irrational about [X], probably in an explicitly racist way".
posted by tocts at 6:47 PM on October 8, 2015 [19 favorites]


Let me guess, is "offender" was a black guy. 22 fucking years is supposed to do what to him other than tell him that the world doesn't give a shit about him?
posted by hal_c_on at 7:07 PM on October 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


You know, I was ready to be really outraged, but the 22 years was for cooking something like 50 kilos of crack cocaine. I can't help but imagine how much of the community was destroyed by that much crack, and the words "nonviolent offense" give me a weird feel when paired with what he did. I believe that there was sentencing disparity, and that fucking sucks, and it's hard when families get separated, but he did something really terrible to a lot of families, too

On a side note, what the hell is the smartphone thing about?
posted by corb at 7:16 PM on October 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


but many of his defendants were addicts who had become middling dealers, people who sometimes sounded to him less like perpetrators than victims in the case reports now piled high on his bench. “History of family addiction.” “Mild mental retardation.” “PTSD after suffering multiple rapes.” “Victim of sexual abuse.” “Temporarily homeless.” “Heavy user since age 14.”
We lost the entire fucking plot (what little was left) of the War on Drugs somewhere around here.
posted by Talez at 7:18 PM on October 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


“Victim impact: There is no identifiable victim.”

“Criminal history: Minimal.”

“Cost of imprisonment: $2,440.97 per month.”

“Guideline sentence: 151 to 188 months.”
HOW IS THIS NOT FUCKING INSANITY TO PEOPLE?!? Four hundred thousand fucking dollars. Four hundred thousand fucking dollars. How about we sentence him for a year, split the difference and hire half a dozen fucking teachers instead. Or just give the ones we have a raise. We could literally give each of our 3.1 million teachers a 12 cent raise per year for not imprisoning one of these people for such stupifying amounts of time. Every teacher in the nation could get an extra cent on their monthly pay just for not imprisoning one fucking person.

Four hundred thousand fucking dollars. I just can't get over that number.
posted by Talez at 7:25 PM on October 8, 2015 [14 favorites]


Crack vs powder and sentencing

Let's talk about how many lives have been ruined by evidence-free, racism-full sentencing laws.
posted by rtha at 7:37 PM on October 8, 2015 [15 favorites]


I'm still waiting for the flood, this is just a little trickle. I want to see Barack release thousands.
posted by Meatbomb at 7:49 PM on October 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


I "like" part IV, where a man gets 1 day for selling marijuana, and 5 years for having a gun in his house (even though the drug offenses did not take place there), 25 years because the informant "thought" he saw a gun in the guy's car during one buy, and another 25 years for supposedly having a gun in an ankle holster during another. A grand total of 55 years for selling maybe a pound of pot.

Even the fucking Koch Brothers consider it a travesty. The Koch Brothers!
posted by wierdo at 7:50 PM on October 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


There are a number of countries where you wouldn't even stay in that long for murder.

Sentencing guidelines in the justice system with the developed world's second highest per capita imprisonment rate (England & Wales) start at a 25 year prison stay before being paroled, IIRC.
posted by ambrosen at 7:58 PM on October 8, 2015


The Washington Post has been really rocking the coverage of the drug war lately.
posted by gingerbeer at 8:17 PM on October 8, 2015


There are a number of countries where you wouldn't even stay in that long for murder.

Well, voluntary manslaughter in the U.S. is up to 15 years.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:44 PM on October 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Even the fucking Koch Brothers consider it a travesty. The Koch Brothers!

Aren't they supposedly libertarian? Libertarians (particularly filthy rich ones) have a lot of faults, but they are generally against the drug war.
posted by el io at 11:45 PM on October 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


English sentencing guidelines start at 15 years before parole for murder.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 11:47 PM on October 9, 2015


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