Pubdate: Tue, 29 Jun 2004
Source: Journal Standard, The (Freeport, IL)
Copyright: 2004 The Journal Standard
Author: Connie Kraft


Are you aware of the sentencing guidelines in your county? Are you
aware that if you are caught in possession of illegal drugs within
1,000 feet of a church, school or park twice, that you could be
charged with two Class X felonies and be sentenced to a minimum of 12
years in DOC, due to Mandatory Minimum sentencing guidelines? But, if
you are prosecuted for shaking a baby to death, with a previous record
and history of violence, you can plea bargain your charge from a Class
X felony down to an involuntary manslaughter Class 4 felony and you
will only be sentenced to 11 years in DOC.

And do you realize that all time served is now day for day, so if you
are sentenced to the 12-year minimum Class X felony sentence, for drug
possession, day for day would put you in DOC custody for six years,
and the 11 year Class 4 felony sentence, for shaking a baby to death,
would put you in DOC custody for five and a half years? I know there
is no "good time" awarded for the Class X felony, I am unsure if good
time is awarded for the Class 4, which would decrease the amount of
time in prison to under the five and a half years.

So, am I the only person in Stephenson County that is getting the
impression that the ineffective War on Drugs takes precedence to a
child's life? Why do we have Mandatory Minimums for nonviolent
offenders, but violent ones can plea bargain their sentences and get
less time than nonviolent offenders?

If anyone has insight or can explain to me why someone who shakes a
baby to death gets less time in prison than someone caught possessing
illegal drugs, please fill me in, because I am outraged that this can

It's time the sentencing guidelines are looked at a little more
closely. We need to do away with Mandatory Minimums now.

Connie Kraft

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