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  • US weighs clemency for inmates jailed for 10 years

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/politi...91e_story.html

    On Wednesday, the Justice Department unveiled a revamped clemency process directed at low-level felons imprisoned for at least 10 years who have clean records while in custody. The effort is part of a broader administration push to scale back the use of harsh penalties in some drug prosecutions and to address sentencing disparities arising from the 1980s crack cocaine epidemic that yielded disproportionately tough punishment for black drug offenders.

    “These older, stringent punishments that are out of line with sentences imposed under today’s laws erode people’s confidence in our criminal justice system,” Deputy Attorney General James Cole said, laying out new criteria that will be used to evaluate clemency petitions for possible recommendation for the president’s approval.

    Though the criteria apply solely to federal inmates, states, too are grappling with severe prison overcrowding. In Nebraska, for example, prisons were at 155 percent of capacity at the end of March. And in California, courts have ordered the state to reduce the inmate population to 137.5 percent of designed capacity, or 112,164 inmates in the 34 facilities, by February 2016.

    The White House, sometimes criticized as too stingy with its clemency power, says it’s seeking more candidates for leniency in an overcrowded federal prison system whose costs comprise a sizable percentage of the Justice Department’s budget.

    The system’s population has skyrocketed in recent decades, creating rising multibillion-dollar expenses that officials say threaten other law enforcement priorities and that an inspector general’s report last year characterized as a “growing crisis.” The United States incarcerates about a quarter of the world’s prisoners. Of the roughly 216,000 inmates in federal custody, nearly half are imprisoned for drug-related crimes.

    The Justice Department says now’s the time to consider releasing more prisoners early.

    “These defendants were properly held accountable for their criminal conduct. However, some of them, simply because of the operation of sentencing laws on the books at the time, received substantial sentences that are disproportionate to what they would receive today,” Cole said.

    Officials say they don’t know how many of the tens of thousands of drug-related convicts would be eligible for early release, but an ideal candidate would meet six criteria — including no history of violence, no ties to criminal organizations or gangs and a clean prison record. He must also have already served 10 years or more of his sentence and be likely to have received a substantially shorter offense if convicted of the same offense today.

    The Bureau of Prisons will notify all inmates of the criteria next week and provide electronic surveys to those who think they deserve clemency.

    The Justice Department expects the vast majority of applicants to be drug prisoners but didn’t foreclose the possibility that inmates convicted of other crimes — financial fraud, for example — could be considered.

    “It’s really a coming together of decades of excessive sentencing, particularly in drug cases, combined with attention to the underused power of commutation,” said Marc Mauer, executive director of the Sentencing Project, an organization that works on sentencing policies.

    The announcement is a “fantastic step in the right direction,” said Julie Stewart, president of Families Against Mandatory Minimums. And Douglas Berman, a sentencing law expert at Ohio State University, said it represented a “very meaningful change in both tone and attitude” from the days when clemency was seen as a power that carried “all political risk, no political reward.”

    The action is the latest change sought in a federal sentencing system that Attorney General Eric Holder says often results in unduly harsh outcomes. Earlier this year, he endorsed a proposal that would result in shorter prison sentences for nonviolent drug traffickers and, in August, directed federal prosecutors not to charge low-level, nonviolent drug offenders with crimes that entail mandatory minimum sentences.

    The Obama administration has also said it is working to correct the legacy of an old sentencing structure that subjected offenders to long prison terms for crack cocaine convictions while giving far more lenient sentences to those caught with the powder form of the drug. Many of the crack convicts have been black, while those convicted of powder offenses have been more likely to be white.

    The Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 reduced that disparity and eliminated a five-year mandatory minimum for first-time possession of crack, but the law did not cover offenders sentenced before the law was approved. Officials are now turning their attention to identifying inmates who received sentences under the old guidelines.

    In December President Barack Obama, who granted only one commutation in his first term, cut short the sentences of eight prisoners — including six serving life sentences — who he said had been locked up too long for drug crimes.

    The administration says it’s impossible to know exactly how many new applicants will be eligible. Mauer, of the Sentencing Project, said he didn’t expect a huge number of inmates to qualify for clemency given the narrowness of the criteria, but he said the effort was significant nonetheless.

    The announcement could shift attention to Congress, where legislation is pending that would cut the length of many nonviolent drug sentences and give judges more discretion by expanding a safety-valve provision already on the books that allows a limited number of nonviolent drug offenders to avoid mandatory sentences.

    “It seems the Justice Department is doing what it can to help stem the tide of people going to prison in record numbers for absurd lengths of time,” said Stewart, of Families Against Mandatory Minimums. “It really is up to Congress to take the next step and change the number of mandatory sentencing laws.”

    Thoughts?
    Originally posted by RSGSRT
    We've reached a point where natural selection doesn't have a chance in hell of keeping up with the procreation of imbeciles.
    Why is it acceptable for you to be an idiot, but not acceptable for me to point it out?

  • #2
    times are changing, people attitudes are different. Depending on the crime simple pot possession and stuff like that. I don't care. I would rather see people rot in jail for identity theft, wire fraud, check fraud more then having a baggy of pot.

    Comment


    • #3
      Drug policy is going to see some major changes over the next 20 years. Free people should be able to ingest whatever toxic substance they choose. However, with the government now involving itself with health insurance, I think drug users (including cigarettes and alcohol) should be required to purchase additional riders on top of their medical insurance policies. Market competition would drive out the true calculated risk of various substances, and prices would adjust in accordance with these actual risk levels (pot insurance would be cheap, heroin insurance would be expensive). As long as someone can avoid forcing other taxpayers to help shoulder the risk that they choose to expose themselves to, I have no problem with them doing whatever they want.

      It is a medical problem, and LE\corrections will never be able to solve it (exhibit A: US drug policy history).

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Aerohead View Post
        Though the criteria apply solely to federal inmates,

        Yea remember that ^^^^^^^




        Originally posted by Carbonfiberfoot View Post
        \corrections will never be able to solve it (exhibit A: US drug policy history).
        Corrections doesn't "solve" anything. They merely house what the Courts send to them.
        Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

        My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

        Comment


        • #5
          The Feds could just.. let them go.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Chomp View Post
            The Feds could just.. let them go.
            California did....................
            Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

            My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Carbonfiberfoot View Post
              Drug policy is going to see some major changes over the next 20 years. Free people should be able to ingest whatever toxic substance they choose. However, with the government now involving itself with health insurance, I think drug users (including cigarettes and alcohol) should be required to purchase additional riders on top of their medical insurance policies. Market competition would drive out the true calculated risk of various substances, and prices would adjust in accordance with these actual risk levels (pot insurance would be cheap, heroin insurance would be expensive). As long as someone can avoid forcing other taxpayers to help shoulder the risk that they choose to expose themselves to, I have no problem with them doing whatever they want.

              It is a medical problem, and LE\corrections will never be able to solve it (exhibit A: US drug policy history).
              So you want to make drugs legal but require that drug users buy medical insurance? You don't see FAIL written all over that? And what's the penalty for NOT buying medical insurance with the heroin, crack, and cocaine riders - jail? So now instead of putting drug users in jail for using drugs, you're going to put them in jail for not buying medical insurance. And when they don't buy the insurance and somehow avoid jail, but continue to OD, guess who is going to pay for that medical care. Please tell me that you're joking or that I misunderstand what you're saying.
              Originally posted by RSGSRT
              We've reached a point where natural selection doesn't have a chance in hell of keeping up with the procreation of imbeciles.
              Why is it acceptable for you to be an idiot, but not acceptable for me to point it out?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Aerohead View Post
                So you want to make drugs legal but require that drug users buy medical insurance? You don't see FAIL written all over that? And what's the penalty for NOT buying medical insurance with the heroin, crack, and cocaine riders - jail? So now instead of putting drug users in jail for using drugs, you're going to put them in jail for not buying medical insurance. And when they don't buy the insurance and somehow avoid jail, but continue to OD, guess who is going to pay for that medical care. Please tell me that you're joking or that I misunderstand what you're saying.
                Well, if the powers that be hadn't decided to involve the federal government with medical insurance coverage, it would be much more cut and dry. I can't stand the idea of taxpayer dollars subsidizing a junkie's medical care.

                To me, Obamacare and prohibition are both completely unconstitutional. The cheapest, simplest option would be to abolish both.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Either way the taxpayers will be forced to pay for the medical care of drug addicts - at least while incarcerated, they won't be committing crimes to feed their addiction. And if we'd use prisoners for manual labor, they'd actually be accomplishing something.
                  Originally posted by RSGSRT
                  We've reached a point where natural selection doesn't have a chance in hell of keeping up with the procreation of imbeciles.
                  Why is it acceptable for you to be an idiot, but not acceptable for me to point it out?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Aerohead View Post
                    Either way the taxpayers will be forced to pay for the medical care of drug addicts - at least while incarcerated, they won't be committing crimes to feed their addiction. And if we'd use prisoners for manual labor, they'd actually be accomplishing something.
                    A functioning tax payer benefits society far more than a prisoner running a weedeater. Prisons should house those who are a danger to society. If someone steals to feed their addiction, prison is the place for them. But, if someone wants to get wasted in their house, and they don't infringe upon their fellow man's pursuit of happiness in the process, then who cares. Why spend all that money to throw them in a cage and take them out of the workforce?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Carbonfiberfoot View Post
                      A functioning tax payer benefits society far more than a prisoner running a weedeater. Prisons should house those who are a danger to society. If someone steals to feed their addiction, prison is the place for them. But, if someone wants to get wasted in their house, and they don't infringe upon their fellow man's pursuit of happiness in the process, then who cares. Why spend all that money to throw them in a cage and take them out of the workforce?
                      You're implying that heroin and crack addicts are hardworking, tax paying citizens.
                      Originally posted by RSGSRT
                      We've reached a point where natural selection doesn't have a chance in hell of keeping up with the procreation of imbeciles.
                      Why is it acceptable for you to be an idiot, but not acceptable for me to point it out?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Aerohead View Post
                        You're implying that heroin and crack addicts are hardworking, tax paying citizens.
                        As crazy as it sounds, I've actually met functioning examples of each. They certainly weren't the best examples humanity has to offer, but society would not benefit from their incarceration in any way. It isn't healthy, and it isn't advisable, but if someone wants to toast their brain in the land of the free, they should be able to burn it to a crisp.

                        I have no desire to associate with them, but as long as they leave other people and their property alone, it's their stupid choice to make. I don't want to see tax dollars spent to house them in a cell and feed them anymore than I want to see those dollars spent on their medical care.
                        Last edited by Carbonfiberfoot; 04-24-2014, 11:49 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Carbonfiberfoot View Post
                          I have no desire to associate with them, but as long as they leave other people and their property alone, it's their stupid choice to make. I don't want to see tax dollars spent to house them in a cell and feed them anymore than I want to see those dollars spent on their medical care.
                          Found your problem right here. They aren't going to do that. Perhaps you've met a few of these folks, and perhaps they weren't committing crimes during the few minutes that you were interacting with them. I stop these turds every night, and I run them, and I see what their priors are.

                          There are no junkies without priors.. and those represent just the few times that A. they actually got caught and B. the victims were willing to press charges. You can generally take any prior for burglary, petit or grand larceny and multiply it by 100 to get an idea of how many crimes these people actually commit.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Chomp View Post
                            Found your problem right here. They aren't going to do that. Perhaps you've met a few of these folks, and perhaps they weren't committing crimes during the few minutes that you were interacting with them. I stop these turds every night, and I run them, and I see what their priors are.

                            There are no junkies without priors.. and those represent just the few times that A. they actually got caught and B. the victims were willing to press charges. You can generally take any prior for burglary, petit or grand larceny and multiply it by 100 to get an idea of how many crimes these people actually commit.
                            I certainly can't argue with your experience. I'm sure you've met far more addicts than me. The crack\coke head I knew had held down a sales job for quite a few years though, and consistently made good money. The anecdotal examples I referenced may very well be the exceptions, but I can't help but wonder how many more like them there are out there. I was surprised to learn what they were into when I found out. Those would be the extreme substances though, as I've met countless financially successful cocaine\alcohol\pot\painkiller users (I used to be in the sales industry, and it can be a crazy place).

                            I'd like to see the penalties for theft\robbery drastically increased.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Let's see, we've had very stiff penalties that have allowed us to keep crooks off the street for a long time. We have been seeing that pay dividends in some of the lowest crime rates in over 50 years, but now we want to give everyone a hug and let them go,,,,,,guess what's next.....
                              Today's Quote:

                              "The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."
                              Albert Einstein

                              Comment

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