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Janet Reno, Where Are You?

G. Patrick Callahan, Prisoner of War in America

When I reached FCI Oxford in mid-summer of 1993, the yard was abuzz with Janet Reno. Everyone was talking about the Attorney General's recommendation that first time drug law violators should receive a 50% time cut. Second time violators would get a 25% cut and , lo and behold the BOP would be giving 108 days of good time per year. Remember all that?

Ms. Reno was Joan of Arc, a revered figure, a cross between Mother Theresa and Ariadna, leading us out of this labyrinth of draconian punishment. She had become St. Reno of Washington DC. Then suddenly...nothing.

What happened, we wonder? If the Attorney General's proposals were deemed worth a public airing in 1993, what caused the silencing of the issue? Moreover it is now four more drug war crushing, relentless, never ending years later with no relief, The BOP is in the unenviable position of having to build on FCI like this one every two weeks. Prisons are bulging at the seams, families are still being plowed under and the sentences Americans receive for drug law violations still shock the Western World. The policy failure Ms. Reno saw in 1993 must be ten times worse today. But.. Janet Reno where are you? And who was it that shut you up?

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