mandatory minimum sentences for low-level, non-violent drug offenders (YES or NO)
How do we deal with non-violent drug offenders? That’s the question! There would be no hesitation if putting a violent criminal behind bars for a very long time. Murderers, rapists, bank robbers. Those were the kinds of criminals that were locked up back in the days. Prison was known to be a place for bad guys. However, since the war on drugs has escalated, the number and duration of prison sentences for non-violent offenders incarcerated for drug possession is also on the rise. Arrests for drugs and other non-violent petty crimes should be changed from felonies to misdemeanors, therefore reducing the number of individuals jailed, and using those resources to fund mental health and drug treatment programs. Nonetheless, I feel that imprisonment will neither help individuals getting arrested for these non-serious crimes, nor will it make their communities any safer. On the other hand, while these non-violent offenders are getting incarcerated, other far more dangerous criminals are actually getting away.
Is there really a difference in prosecution and sentencing based on race in the United States? Relative to their numbers in the general population and among drug offenders, black Americans are unjustifiably arrested, convicted, and incarcerated on drug charges. Although the majority of those who sold and abused drugs are white, almost two-thirds of drug arrestees are black. In addition, the Wall Street Journal stated that, “prison sentences were nearly 20% longer for black men than those of white men for similar crimes in recent years.” I believe that potential reasons may include racial profiling. Although the existence of racial profiling goes dates back to slavery, unfortunately it still occurs on our streets today. Maybe based off the fact that black people get arrested more often and commit more crimes. Furthermore, because law enforcement tend to focus on areas of high crime which are usually consumed with low-income black individuals. The people who reside in the areas where police tend to be present a majority of the time. Maybe it’s due to other reasons, but the reality of it all is that we need to stop leaping to conclusions and bring an end to this racial bias!