Pubdate: Sat, 14 Feb 2009
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2009 Los Angeles Times
Author: F. Aaron Smith


The tentative federal court decision to release up to 57,000 inmates
from California's overcrowded prisons is yet another reminder of the
catastrophic failure of our state's correctional system. California
needs comprehensive sentencing reform and an overhaul of our parole

But what can we do now? I don't have the magic bullet, but one obvious
place to start is to immediately release all prisoners incarcerated on
marijuana-related offenses. The California Department of Corrections
and Rehabilitation reports that about 1,500 people are behind bars for
marijuana-related felonies. When California is faced with the prospect
of releasing violent criminals and individuals whom Atty. Gen. Jerry
Brown considers "deeply disturbed," not even one person should be
incarcerated for a nonviolent marijuana offense.

F. Aaron Smith

Santa Rosa

The writer is California policy director for the Marijuana Policy
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