The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

Editorials

August 14, 2013

Drug penalties deserve revision

(Continued)

While many on the left and right of the political spectrum praised what Holder announced, some conservatives have called it a power grab by President Obama, and some liberals have criticized the president and attorney general for not doing it sooner.

Clearly, the new policy — which includes considering release of some elderly prisoners no longer considered threats to society — is the right thing to do on so many levels.

In addition to the enormous cost ($28,000 a year per inmate) of incarcerating so many people, there is an inherent unfairness in the sentencing process. Blacks make up about 13 percent of the U.S. population, but 37 percent of the federal prison population. Hispanics constitute about 17 percent of the country, yet 35 percent of federal prisoners.

It is far past time for all the states to follow the lead of the Justice Department and get rid of mandatory sentencing. 

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