Yesterday, the Senate passed the sorely needed Smarter Sentencing Act. Supporters of the law came from both sides of the aisle, but the act is opposed by the National Association of Assistant U.S. Attorneys, who believe that Federal mandatory sentencing is a necessary tool for minimizing crime and aiding prosecutors.
The truth is, this legislation would reduce prison population and ease recidivism, balance out racial disparity, heal broken families and save tax dollars. More Black males under the age of 40 are currently jailed or imprisoned, than were at the peak of South African Apartheid. The Federal Bureau of Prisons is operating at 140% of its maximum capacity. That means that there are 14 inmates for every 10 beds.
While it has been proven that Blacks are no more likely to sell drugs, than Whites, they are far more likely to be prosecuted for drug law offenses. Whites also tend to receive no sentences or light sentences, whereas Blacks are more likely to feel the brunt of mandatory sentencing laws.
Yesterday’s Senate vote shows that both Republicans and Democrats believe that America’s incarceration fever is out of control and needs reform. The problem has become so disastrous, that even these two opposing philosophies are willing to work for change.
For years, judges have opposed these draconian laws. I have even heard of cases where judges handed down rulings, while in tears – their own sense of right and wrong being in direct opposition to laws that tied their hands.
Of course, like any legislation, yesterday’s vote was only the first hurdle. The bill will now go to the House, where if it is passed will go to Obama‘s desk. From there, it will have to face any Supreme Court challenge. So, don’t expect to be picking up your loved one, at that main gate, tomorrow – but given the givens, DeafInPrison.com lauds this flickering flame of progress and says thank you to the U.S. Senate.
BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.