Pubdate: Thu, 14 Feb 2002
Source: Spartanburg Herald Journal (SC)
Copyright: 2002 The Spartanburg Herald-Journal
Author: Traci Robinson


Locked-In Sentences Aren't Going To Keep Drug Lords Off The Streets

I understand the opinion of the letter writer who said he is in favor of 
even stiffer sentences for drug offenders. We all are anxious for a "quick 
fix" to remove the cancer that drugs have become in our society.

Some of these drug offenders receiving mandatory 25-year sentences, 
however, have never been in trouble previously. They have no prior record 
and are not career criminals.

Yes, they made huge mistakes and committed serious crimes - because of 
addiction! But with a 25-year mandatory sentence, they will never have the 
chance to correct their mistakes, get help for their addiction and start 
over. Neither will their ripped apart families.

If these sentences took the drug lords off the streets, then maybe we would 
see some true results from such a system.

The drug lords, however, know these laws as well as our law enforcement. 
They let other people do the dirty work and the hard time. When one man has 
gone off to serve his time, 10 more are waiting to replace him. They're 
still selling drugs. It's business as usual.

Our prisons get more and more crowded, and our taxes keep going up. More of 
our children, broth-ers, sisters, fathers and mothers are wasting away in 
prisons, while drug lords are sitting back and getting fat.

Give discretion back to our judges so that they can weigh the circumstances 
and give stiff sentences when necessary and also second chances when 
warranted. Before critics of this throw the first stone, I hope that no one 
they care about needs a second chance and faces mandatory sentencing.
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