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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 2/10/09

Federal Court Orders California to Release Fifty-Eight Thousand Non-Violent Prisoners

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Rockefeller, Three Strikes on Chopping Block?

In response to California's severe prison overcrowding, Judges at Federal Court have ordered California to release fifty-eight thousand non-violent inmates. The Judges have determined California will have at least one dead prisoner per month due to suicide, overcrowding and health concerns. It is estimated California will save 900 million dollars per year in prison costs.
I wonder how many non-violent drug offenders are incarcerated in California?
Could it be fifty thousand? At roughly twenty thousand a year per prisoner? Extrapolate that figure to fifty states-- nearly fifty billion dollars per year. Throw in court and administrative costs, guard salaries and money saved by re-assigning police to violent crimes and crimes against persons or property, and ending the DEA prosecution of Medical Marijuana, call it one hundred billion a year, over ten years:
a trillion dollars saved,
not to mention hundreds of thousands of young lives of non-violent drug offenders wasted languishing in prison for being naive and adventurous, and the abolition of the Rockefeller and Three Strikes laws comes into realistic perspective.
If we can calculate the losses to murderous Mexican drug lords in lives and dollars, the decriminalization of drug offenses and the cost of the Drug War, more than a trillion saved over less than ten years, and a more sane approach to our most adventurous and naive young minds.
Like A-Rod said, 'I was young, naive, and stupid.'

Abolishing the Rockefeller laws would place sentencing back in the hands of judges.
Abolishing Three Strikes would end Life sentences for stealing a pizza.
Parole and Rehab would serve public interest, save a trillion dollars, and move drug offenses from expensive criminal dockets to medical issues, but most of all save
young people from wasted lives in prison.
An idea whose time has come?

love holds the stars in their courses-- Maya Angelou
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Avid reader, jazz musician, philosopher, chef, stone mason, carpenter, writer, painter, poet,humanist, teacher, holistic ethicist who believes consciousness and love pervade the universe, except among self-obsessed humans. I perceive the (more...)
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