Federal prosecutors have their statist panties all in a bunch because their boss, Attorney General Eric Holder, has wisely decided that draconian mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes aren’t working and should be rolled back.
Well, of course they do. These are the folks that make their living by prosecuting mostly innocent human beings in the failed War on Drugs. Their philosophy is to lock ‘em up and throw away the key. That’s why our federal prisons are full to the brim with non-violent offenders who are no threat whatsoever to society except for the fact that their mandatory prison sentences are unnecessarily costing the taxpayers billions.
Congress became afflicted with mandatory reefer madness about 30 years ago in the 1980’s under the Reagan administration when they passed into law extremely harsh guidelines and penalties for drug offenders of which judges were obligated to impose regardless of the circumstances. Innocent growers of pot plants in their basements have actually found themselves facing up to 20 years behind bars under those laws.
That’s just what the statist prosecutors want because it keeps them employed prosecuting easy cases -- shooting thousands of non-violent ducks in a barrel. The more dupes they lock up the more take their place and the Drug War just continues on and on unabated.
Eric Holder has finally come to realize that the Drug War is a losing cause. The consequences to society have been horrendous. Now he wants to overhaul mandatory minimums because incarceration rates for non-violent offenders are exploding, the harsh long term sentences have unfairly hurt low-income and minority communities, and the burden to taxpayers is unsustainable.
He’s calling on Congress to pass the “Smarter Sentencing Act.” "Such legislation could ultimately save our country billions of dollars in prison costs while keeping us safe," Holder explained. It would cut minimum sentences in half for many drug crimes, and give judges -- as opposed to prosecutors -- more leeway in sentencing offenders.
That prudent attitude doesn’t sit well with the National Association of Assistant U.S. Attorneys though. They wrote Holder a letter whining: "we consider the current federal mandatory minimum sentence framework as well-constructed and well worth preserving." They like the idea of non-violent offenders rotting in prison.
"Now that we have crime under control, this bill would see drug crime surge all over again," one of them sniffed, calling the bill a "terrible idea.” That’s a laugh. Does anyone really believe that our statist prosecutors have recreational drug use under control? They don’t what to lose their sledge hammer tool of coercion. That’s why they think rolling back mandatory draconian prison sentences is a terrible idea.
"Mandatory minimums work very well, when you have a drug offender who can provide information against a big, big player, or an organization, or a cartel," explained Doug Burns, a former federal prosecutor and Fox News legal analyst. "You turn around and charge him with 20 years of mandatory time, and the defense attorney knows the only realistic way out of that is cooperation."
That’s how it works in the War on Drugs. That’s why the prisons are full of non-violent offenders. That’s why the taxpayers are heaving under the weight of the tremendous unnecessary costs. The statists are losing the War but the prisons are full anyway and the conveyer belt of government coercion and intimidation keeps rolling along.
It’s mandatory reefer madness.