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Give The Scooter Treatment To Jailed Potheads
Just for one. In a press release I got yesterday, the Libertarian Party thinks the Bush administration should stop with those harsh sentencing guidelines they've been proposing (to prevent judges from going by anything but federal sentencing guidelines to make a sentence more lenient than those guidelines propose). Well, that is, for anyone but Scooter. Here's what the big L libertarians say:

Libertarian Party Challenges Bush to Focus on Nonviolent Offenders with Libby Commutation

The president’s commutation of Scooter Libby’s sentence raises the question of whether the standard should be applied to all Americans sentenced for nonviolent crimes.

Washington, DC – National Libertarian Party chairman William Redpath is challenging President Bush to address the issue of prison time for nonviolent consensual crime offenders after saving Lewis “Scooter” Libby from serving 30 months in prison. “After freeing Scooter Libby because of what he calls too strong of a sentence, we challenge President Bush to do the same for same for the thousands of Americans currently in prison for other nonviolent victimless offenses,” Redpath said upon the announcement of Libby’s sentence commutation. “These Americans are forced to serve a sentence for offenses far less serious than those committed by Libby.”

Bush stated too harsh of a punishment as one of the reasons he commutated Libby’s sentence.

Nonviolent offenses are generally classified as those crimes that lack the use, or attempted use, of violence. These crimes are often referred to as “victimless crimes.” The Libertarian Party believes jailing nonviolent offenders is a waste of government resources, which could be used in turn for what the party calls “real crime.”

“Currently in the United States, it is estimated that one out of 15 people will spend time in jail at some point in his life,” Redpath continued, citing findings from a US Department of Justice study. “At what point do we say enough is enough, and something needs to change?”

The average sentence for a nonviolent offender is over 50 months in prison.

According to a report released by the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, the American prison system held over one million nonviolent offenders by the end of 1998—the first time ever in American history. The same report found that prison costs of incarcerating the 1.2 million nonviolent offenders totaled $24 billion dollars for that year.

“If President Bush feels that Libby’s punishment is too severe for the crime, then why does our judicial system still require prison for some nonviolent crimes where no victim exists?” Redpath continued. “It is a grotesque waste of scant judicial resources.”

The platform for the Libertarian Party calls for the immediate reform of the judicial system’s mandatory sentencing policy, to both reduce a skyrocketing prison population and ensure violent offenders are not prematurely released from jail. It also calls for a repeal of statutes that “work against the protection of the rights and freedom of American citizens,” and “particularly laws which create a crime where no victim exists.”

“In the supposed ‘Land of the Free,’ we have the highest prison population in the world,” Redpath said. “The Libertarian Party believes this is a serious problem that demands serious attention.”

Posted by aalkon at July 6, 2007 9:31 AM

Comments

I am in 100% agreement.

Posted by: rusty wilson at July 6, 2007 8:06 AM

Yeah, our incarceration rates are a disgrace and a serious drag on our productivity. Removing nonviolent people convicted only of drug possession from the prison system would be a good thing. California has had a law that diverts these sorts of offenders for a few years (don't know if it does anything with people already incarcerated). Anybody know what effect that's been having on our prison population? (Sorry, too busy to go digging myself this morning)

Posted by: justin case at July 6, 2007 9:58 AM

Gotta feed the monster:

"...'The private contracting of prisoners for work fosters incentives to lock people up. Prisons depend on this income. Corporate stockholders who make money off prisoners' work lobby for longer sentences, in order to expand their workforce. The system feeds itself,'..."

Link: http://ocnorml.org/pot%20news/prison_industry.htm

Posted by: Doobie at July 6, 2007 8:09 PM

Perhaps every one in prison for a non violent crime needs to send in a request for a presidental pardon.

Posted by: lujlp at July 7, 2007 1:54 AM

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