Pubdate: Sat, 16 Apr 2016
Source: Columbus Dispatch (OH)
Copyright: 2016 The Columbus Dispatch
Author: Greg Pace


Let's do something meaningful in Washington that is fully 
bi-partisan. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, sponsored bill S2123, the 
Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015, with 11 bipartisan 
co-sponsors. As of February, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, 
R-Ky., had said he would put the bill on the floor for a vote if 10 
more Republicans would co-sponsor.

As of April, he only needs three more Republicans, but time is 
running short to get this done prior to the election.

This bill demonstrates the consensus that our war on drugs since the 
1980s is a failure. Instead of cleaning up the streets and stopping 
demand, it has broken up thousands of families with fathers in prison 
for a lifetime because of addictive, nonviolent behavior. It is 
largely why our prison population exploded by fivefold, and made the 
United States the biggest jailer in the world. It weighs heaviest on 
the African-American population.

S2123 would reduce mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent 
drug-consumption crimes and give judges more leeway in sentencing. 
The ability to sentence criminals who should be put out of 
circulation for violent crimes should not be affected.

Readers should contact friends in other states to call, write, or 
visit their Republican U.S. senators to co-sponsor this bill. It has 
been demonstrated repeatedly that incarceration for taking drugs 
costs taxpayers at least four times what treatment costs. That does 
not factor in economic costs when taxpayers support those families.

America needs this.

Greg Pace

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