I Got Published!
July 24, 2006
Time For Congress To Give Felons A Second
All women are not alike, all teenagers
are not alike, all African-Americans are not alike, all grandfathers
are not alike, all prisoners are not alike.
Our nation's prisons are populated with
far more first-time, non-violent drug offenders than with murders
and child molesters.
Because there are more than 2 million incarcerated
Americans, chances are great that you know someone in prison.
Chances are you are related to that someone. Chances are it's
the young man who stocked the supermarket shelves, someone who
was in your high school class or the guy who worked on your car.
Chances are none of those people committed heinous crimes, but
they made poor decisions when drugs were first offered them.
We demand that those men and women pay
their "debt to society," but that debt is never paid
in full. For the rest of their lives they will be labeled felons.
They will have an invisible "F" branded on their foreheads.
They may not be able to vote in some states, will not be able
to own a gun, will not be able to practice law or medicine or
teach or be a barber/beautician or a police officer, will not
be able to move to another state, will have difficulty finding
a job for which he or she is qualified, will have trouble opening
a charge account, will have to be extra careful with whom they
speak (it might be another felon), will not be able to live in
public housing, may not be able to secure a student loan, may
not be able to pass a security check. Lots of "will not
be able to ..."
It is time for us to take a good, hard
look at who those people are behind bars. We are spending $28,000
a year per prisoner to lock up men and women who instead should
be receiving treatment, who should be paying taxes, who should
be contributing to our world, who should be home with their families
-- not in prison. Chances are they are learning how to be better
lawbreakers rather than how to be better citizens. We need to
demand that our representatives in Washington D.C. reconsider
the sentences that are being meted out to offenders. It is time
for Congress to pass HR 1704, the Second Chance (or the Re-entry)
Act. Now is the time.
Larry Schulenberg, Council Bluff, IA
April 11, 2006 - Tampa Tribune (FL)
Gooden A Drug War Victim
Regarding "Broken Promise"
about Dwight Gooden (front page, April 6): Americans are frustrated
because we've been unable to stamp out cocaine. Gooden's case
is a high-profile example of how hard we try. He didn't stop
using, so we threatened him with jail. He still didn't stop,
so we branded him a lifelong felon. We can't stamp out cocaine,
so we poison the coca farms. We can't poison all the coca, so
we seduce Andes politicians with billions for them to do it for
us. They fail, so we send in mercenaries to help. When they fail,
the U.S. Army will go in.
By that time, our drug-testing equipment
will have been perfected to measure nanograms, even picograms,
of urine-borne drugs. Then the cycle will amp up as more Dwight
Goodens are discovered.
We Americans are on the wrong track.
John Chase, Palm Harbor, FL
June 2, 2006 - Muskogee Phoenix (OK)
The People Speak: Government Coerces Drug
In regards to the story "Three
Convicted Of Drug Conspiracy," which involved Randon
and Brandon Sallis:
With a conspiracy charge the government
doesn't need evidence to convict you. They just need their informants,
aka "snitches," to take the stand and tell all.
Nobody knows if their testimony is truthful
since they aren't given a polygraph test. Informants are trying
to get out of jail so they say what the government wants them
to say, regardless if it's all lies.
Might I add that it's very common that
these informants don't even know the defendants. It's not fair
at all. Randon has never been convicted for any crime. He was
previously enrolled in college for computer networking and was
CEO of his own record company.
He is not violent, but none of this was
brought up in trial, and he will face 20 years to life, but we
let violent offenders and child molesters have another chance.
It makes no sense.
About 60 percent of federal prisoners are
drug offenders. They are required to serve 85 percent of their
time whereas violent offenders serve an average of 54 percent.
African Americans make up the majority of drug war prisoners.
Why? Because Blacks and Hispanics are going
to be harassed and arrested for drugs more often than whites;
and this is also a reason why the sentencing guidelines are so
high, because racism is still alive and at its strongest, and
other races want to see blacks locked up for life.
Innocent people are being harassed every
day, and innocent kids are left without mothers and fathers.
Blacks need to wake up and stick together and see how their race
is being locked up for life, and other races convicted of more
serious crimes get less time.
I can't see how ATF agents, jurors and
the district attorney can sleep at night knowing you put somebody's
child, father and friend away for life.
Go to www.november.org and read stories of people
incarcerated for life over drugs. This could be your child, parents
or friend one day.
Let's stop this injustice.
Shayla Mackey (Princess Black), Stillwater,
April 26, 2006 - Arizona Republic (AZ)
We're Blowing It Again With Hype
Researchers and physicians from across
the world warned the media about putting on the hype years ago
when crack cocaine was the latest tactic to gain more funding
for law enforcement and prisons. The damage to children was largely
due to the media, not the drug.
Once again, the media are repeating the
same with meth, and the children will suffer far greater consequences.
By repeating past hype, the drug of the year becomes the latest
ploy in gaining more money to pay for programs that do nothing
to help those addicted to the drugs, much less provide services
that will ensure their children are able to succeed in life.
Robin Scoins, Peoria, AZ
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