Early Release
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If you have been reading the papers at all lately here in Florida, you can't help but notice that the media is getting everybody worked up into a frenzy over the early release of violent criminals. Don't get me wrong. I firmly believe that violent offenders should be kept separated from society, especially those that are repeat offenders. There are, however, some critical facts that seem to be routinely overlooked.

The U.S. Department of Justice in their "Prisoners in 1994" report, page 10 states:

  1. Fully 60% of people serving time in federal prisons in 1993 were prisoners of the "war on drugs". Combine state and federal prisons and the figure drops to 26%.
  2. The gain time/early release program was created to reduce over crowding in prisons that were operating 17% to 29% over capacity.

Where do these facts lead us?

If our prisons were not filled with non-violent drug offenders, there would be more than enough room for all the murderers, rapists, and child molesters. We could lock up the truly dangerous elements of society and effectively isolate them for as long as we desired.

What can we do about it?

Let your elected officials know that you will not tolerate having your community endangered anymore so that they can grand-stand and boast about how they are "getting tough on drugs". The next time your legislator talks about making drug sentencing tougher, ask him how many additional murderers and rapists he is willing to allow to prey on the community in support of his program.


This page was last updated 07/02/00 01:50 PM