How Nonviolent People Are Sentenced to Die in Prison Because of the War on Drugs
In the United States, one can be sentenced to life in prison for the following crimes:
- Possessing a crack pipe
- Possessing a bottle cap containing a trace amount of heroin (too minute to be weighed)
- Having traces of cocaine in clothes pockets that were invisible to the naked eye but detected in lab tests
- Having a single crack rock at home
- Possessing 32 grams of marijuana (worth about $380 in California) with intent to distribute
- Passing out several grams of LSD at a Grateful Dead show
- Acting as a go-between in the sale of $10 worth of marijuana to an undercover cop
- Selling a single crack rock
- Having a stash of over-the-counter decongestant pills
These are not hypothetical. Every single one of these petty, nonviolent drug crimes have landed Americans in prison for life without parole.
Life in prison without a chance of parole is, short of execution, the harshest imaginable punishment. Life without parole (LWOP) is permanent removal from society with no chance of reentry, no hope of freedom. One would expect the American criminal justice system to condemn someone to die in prison only for the most serious offenses.
Yet across the country, thousands of people are serving life sentences without the possibility of parole for nonviolent crimes such as those listed above.
As of last year, 3,278 people were serving life in prison without parole for nonviolent crimes, according to a report released by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) last week.
And to no one’s surprise, about 79 percent of the 3,278 prisoners serving LWOP were sentenced to die in prison for nonviolent drug crimes in the federal system.
How is this possible?
Mandatory sentencing laws that stem from America’s fervent, decades-long crusade against drugs.
The vast majority (83 percent) of life sentences examined by the ACLU were mandatory, meaning that the presiding judge had no choice but to sentence the defendant to a life behind bars. Mandatory sentences often result from repeat offender laws and draconian sentencing rules. Such federal standards for drug convictions are what land nonviolent criminals in prison for LWOP.
The prevalence of LWOP sentences for nonviolent offenses is a symptom of the relentless onslaught of more than four decades of the War on Drugs and “tough-on crime” policies, which drove the passage of unnecessarily harsh sentencing laws, including three-strikes provisions (which mandate certain sentences for a third felony conviction) and mandatory minimum sentences (which require judges to punish people convicted of certain crimes by at least a mandatory minimum number of years in prison).
These inflexible, often extremely lengthy, “one-size-fits-all” sentencing laws prevent judges from tailoring punishment to the individual and the seriousness of the offense, barring them from considering factors such as the individual’s role in the offense or the likelihood that he or she will commit a subsequent crime.
Federal judges have long been outspoken in their opposition to mandatory sentencing laws. Judge Andre M. Davis of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals wrote: "I say with certainty that mandatory minimums are unfair and unjust. These laws, created by an overzealous Congress decades ago … hinder judges from handing out fair and individualized sentences, while prosecutors are given unwarranted power to dictate sentences through charging decisions."
How do petty drug crimes add up to life without parole?
Three federal drug offenses can result in LWOP, even if the offenses are relatively minor. For example, a federal conviction for possessing 50 grams of methamphetamine carries a mandatory life-without-parole sentence if the defendant has previously been convicted of two other felony drug offenses, which can be as minor as selling personal amounts of marijuana.
A handful of states have instituted mandatory LWOP sentences for certain drug offenses. In Alabama, a conviction for selling more than 56 grams of heroin results in a mandatory LWOP sentence. Similarly, a person convicted of selling two ounces of cocaine in Mississippi must receive LWOP. To put these sentences in perspective, the average time served for murder in the U.S. is 14 years.
While laws such as these were enacted in part out of concern about drug abuse and drug-related crime, the penalties they prescribe have not succeeded in curbing drug use or addiction rates, which have essentially remained flat for 40 years. Instead, the laws have contributed to mass incarceration in the U.S.
The ACLU report contains the in-depth stories of 110 individual prisoners waiting to die behind bars for nonviolent offenses, along with more detailed information about mandatory sentencing.
Monsanto literally OWNS the American food industry. Like it doesn’t even fucking matter that Pepsi and Coca Cola are rivals they are both own by the same company. Like they have a monopoly on fucking food, bruh.
St. Peter Over-sleeps, and rushing to the Pearly Gates and seeing a huge backlog.
Playing catch-up and hoping to make a 3 O’clock tee time, He forms 2 lines & takes the first two in line.
St. Peter, ” What’s your story?”
1st guy, “We were playing golf and got hit by lightning.”
2nd guy, ” It was Gods will.”
St. Peter raises his eyebrows at this, but continues.
St. Peter, “Profession?”
1st guy, “We were Politicians.”
2nd guy, “Doing Gods will.”
Again St. Peter raises his eyebrows at this, but continues.
St. Peter, ” So how did you live by the teachings of God?”
1st guy, ” Well I was a liberal Democrat and I tried to treat all people as my equals and as children of God.”
"I did all I could to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, provided sustanance to the old and disabled,
and healthcare to the sick.”
2nd guy, ” I was a conservative republican and I treated all mankind as inferior to me. I gave money to my rich supporters
and voted to get rid of food stamps. I helped Wall Street and let the rich bankers foreclose on the middle and lower classes
and I voted to kill Obamacare 42 times and did my utmost to privatize the monies in the Social Security Administration.”
" Son you have taken the wrong path!" said St. Peter raising his eyebrows for the third time. "Follow the red arrows on the floor to
the elevator and push the down button.” and added St Peter, ” Thanks for doing the will of God.”
Because as all people of God know, It is Gods Show in Equal Balance, Good-Evil-Right Wrong-Right-Left-Up-Down…
- Yesterday, the Census Bureau released the latest data on our nation’s poorest residents. The news wasn’t reassuring.
- The U.S. poverty rate remained unchanged last year, stubbornly stuck at 15 percent.
- Twenty-two percent of Americans under age 18 were living in poverty in 2012.
- The gap between rich and poor households didn’t budge in any
Vertical Cities Asia
WOHA Architects, Singapore – 2011
From the architect’s website:
WOHA participated in the Vertical Cities Asia programme organised by the National University of Singapore (NUS) as a jury member for the design competition held amongst participating universities and contributed a paper discussing WOHA’s approaches in designing for high-rise, high-density living in tropical / sub-tropical regions.
Based on the competition brief that specified a population density of 100,000 people within a 1km2 site, WOHA compared the inner city centre densities of Manhattan, Hong Kong, and Singapore and demonstrated that it would take the equivalent of 4 stacks of Manhattan City or 4 stacks of Hong Kong central district or 9 stacks of Singapore’s city centre to achieve a population density of 100,000 people on each 1km2 site. Within this same footprint, it would take 30 nos. of Dubai’s Burj Khalifa stacked in 3.3 tiers or 67 nos. of The Met stacked in 3 tiers to meet the live-work-play components of the brief.
By devising a 1km2 city grid with a population density of 111,111 people, WOHA envisioned a vertical “Permeable Lattice City” that uses modules of The Met as “City Columns” arranged in a staggered alignment to create a high degree of perforation and porosity resulting in cross-ventilated breezeways at city scale, ensuring fresh air and natural daylighting reaches every part of the inner city. These “City Columns” free up the real ground level for nature reserves and heavy industries, and are held together structurally by a network of “City Conduits” that serve as elevated ground levels. They are woven socially by layers of “City Community Spaces” and vertically interconnected by multi-cabin lifts and environmentally friendly people mover circulation systems that map out a fully pedestrianised city, entirely negating the need for cars above the real ground level and encouraging a highly sustainable and liveable vertical city.
image source: WOHA
People need food safety,secure housing and fair wages in order to move up the self-actualization ladder.
|—||Rep. Donna Edwards, ‘Spineless’ Congress can’t give people what they want (via msnbc)|
Fukushima Operator Dumps 1,000 Tons Of Polluted Water In Sea ::: Radioactive dangers in Japan coming to a beach near you :::The operator of the leaking Fukushima nuclear plant said 9/17 that it dumped more than 1,000 tons of polluted water into the sea after a typhoon raked the facility on 9/16. Typhoon Man-yi smashed into Japan on Monday, bringing with it heavy rain that caused flooding in some parts of the country. The TEPCO tanks at Fukushima holding radioactive waste, which were earlier found to be leaking contaminated water, overflowed with tons of radioactivity into the ocean and ground water. Thousands of tons of water that was poured on the reactors to tame meltdowns is being stored in temporary tanks at the plant, and TEPCO has so far revealed no clear plan for it. On top of this disaster over 300 tons of radioactive water is leaking out every day. People should understand that we don’t have a spare planet. After the Fukushima accident the government in Germany has decided to get rid of nuclear energy, I’d worry about swimming in Hawaii’s ocean starting in 2015 due to Fukushima plume. When will the world authorities help Japan clean this mess up?
#fukushima #tokyo #japan #earthquake #nonuke #nuclear #radiation #earth #remember #vigil #tsunami #anonymous #Protest #occupy #ows #occupy99 #occupywallst #revolution #photooftheday #instagood #followme #iphonesia #tweegram #instamood #instagramhub
HONOLULU City crews clear parks in more homeless sweeps 9/17. The city has been conducting sweeps since Bill 7, which allows authorities to clear sidewalks without notice, went into effect in July. In June Denver put a homeless ban into effect also. NYC also banned food donations to homeless because the city can’t assess their salt, fat and fiber content. Late in August U.S.Church Group Members were threatened with arrest for handing out Biscuits, Coffee to the Homeless. Apparently it is illegal to feed the homeless in Raleigh NC. Many homeless people in Columbia, South Carolina are facing an arduous choice: vacate downtown or be arrested. That’s because in August, the Columbia City Council unanimously approved a new plan — the Emergency Homeless Response” — to remove homeless people from the downtown business district. Homeless people can stay at the shelter, but they’re not permitted to walk off the premises. In fact, Columbia will even post a police officer on the road leading to the shelter to ensure that homeless people don’t walk towards downtown. If they want to leave, they need to set up an appointment and be shuttled by a van. Yeah, how about a jobs program? Best cure for homelessness that there is.
Banning the homeless from view doesn’t even begin to address the problem of homelessness. Being homeless should not be a crime. Who’s next on their list of people they don’t want around?This is INSANE and scary.
#homeless #classwar #occupy #ows #occupy99 #occupywallst #sc #truth #photooftheday #instagood #wow #Raleigh #iphonesia #honolulu #Hawaii #iphoneonly #jj #1984 #igers #igdaily #areyouserious #revolution #occupycongress #protest #southcarolina
I tell myself to be selfless and sweep away all the clutter in my mind. Love, peace, joy, goodness, kindness,faithfulness, gentleness, patience and self-control… Done, back to being my sweet self…sic…grin
The American’s Creed
I believe in the United States of America as a government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a republic; a sovereign nation of many sovereign states; a perfect union, one and inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes.
I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it; to support its
constitution; to obey its laws; to respect its flag; and to defend it against all
The American’s Creed was developed by William Tyler Page, clerk of the United States House of Representatives in 1917.