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Set in Steel: Prison Life Without Parole (for weed???)

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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:08 AM
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Set in Steel: Prison Life Without Parole (for weed???)
Set in Steel: Prison Life Without Parole
By Maya Schenwar
t r u t h o u t | Special Report

Wednesday 28 November 2007

For federal prisoners, the prospect of early release expired in 1987. As prisons bulge and recidivism persists, why is the parole ban still in place?

In 1982, when George Martorano pled guilty to charges of marijuana possession and drug conspiracy, he was expecting ten years in prison, at most.

Today, after 24 years, Martorano holds the honor of longest-serving nonviolent first-time offender in the history of the United States. He's all too ready to forfeit that mark of distinction, but if his sentence plays out as issued, he'll be looking at several decades more: Martorano is serving a life sentence for three years of transporting and selling marijuana. Despite his spotless prison record - not to mention his suicide-prevention volunteer work, his yoga practice and the 20 books he's written while incarcerated - he has no hope of being released.

Martorano is just one of almost 200,000 inmates in federal prison, many of whom have no chance for early release, thanks to the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984, which abolished parole at the federal level. The toughening of prison legislation over the past 20 years has also meant longer sentences for nonviolent offenders, combining with the parole ban to prompt a sharp increase in the federal prison population. As it stands, the beefed-up federal prison system costs taxpayers $40,000 per year for every inmate, and it costs inmates whole decades of their lives.

"We're being warehoused," Martorano said in a phone interview. "It's taken a million dollars just to keep me in."

Since the parole ban took effect, the federal prison population has more than quadrupled, according to Bureau of Justice statistics.

more...

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/112807J.shtml
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Dora Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:15 AM
Response to Original message
1. Who runs federal prisons?
Who benefits?
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Echo In Light Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:23 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Incarcerating non-violent users is a growth indestroy. U.S. is #1 at it!
Gotta maintain finding the means to run sectors of the "surplus" populace through the system.
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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:25 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. I think many have been contracted out; I guess keeping them there
is good for their bottom line. :mad:
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Thothmes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 07:55 AM
Response to Reply #1
19. Bureau of Prison, Department of Justice
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ThomCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:42 AM
Response to Original message
4. It's all about
1. creating and maintaining an underclass
2. building and maintaining a prison industry
3. looking tough in the media to get reelected
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tom_paine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 04:48 PM
Response to Reply #4
15. Don't forget suppressing the African-American vote for the Bushies
Every nonviolent or innocnt African-American rotting away in Wackenhut's Paradise is a vote stolen for the Bushies.

That adds up.
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Romulox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:44 AM
Response to Original message
5. Which Democrat will END the War on (people who use) Drugs???
NOT Clinton.
NOT Obama.
NOT Edwards...

:wtf:
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KillCapitalism Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:48 AM
Response to Reply #5
7. Maybe Kucinich & that's about it.
& marijuana legalization is about as far as he'd probably be willing to go, but hey at least that would be a start.
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Romulox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:50 AM
Response to Reply #7
9. It amazes me that gay rights or abortion are deal breakers for so many, but...
having the largest prison population in the world, both as an absolute number as well as a proportion of a population is a non-issue...
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hootinholler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 12:21 PM
Response to Reply #9
12. It amazes me that no one really knows that.
I get blank stares when I try to clue people in.

-Hoot
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Warren DeMontague Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 04:51 PM
Response to Reply #7
17. Not true. Dodd has come out for decriminalizing marijuana as well.
But those two are the only ones.
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Echo In Light Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 08:05 AM
Response to Reply #7
20. And that in itself would be a incredible feat due to the ideological 'war' on pot
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Double T Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:48 AM
Response to Reply #5
8. The front runners are mainstream SOS. Look to the dark horses.........
moving forward from the back of the pack for reasonable, intelligent relief for your issue.
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reggie the dog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 12:11 PM
Response to Reply #5
11. there is
one Republican candidate that would legalize drugs too.
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Warren DeMontague Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 04:50 PM
Response to Reply #5
16. Dodd has come out for decriminalizing marijuana. (So has Kucinich.)
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High Plains Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:47 AM
Response to Original message
6. Ending the drug war is a social justice issue.
Half a million NON-VIOLENT drug offenders behind bars on any given day in the USA. A whole fucking industry living off it. It is a disgrace to a country that calls itself the land of the free.

And where are the Democrats? Hemming and hawing, at best, except for Kucinich.

And then there's Ron Paul, who calls the drug war a failure and says prohibition should be abolished. I suspect that stand, as well as his opposition to the Iraq war, is driving his frenzied supporters, not his anti-abortion or other weird positions.
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mdmc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:53 AM
Response to Original message
10. No pro-drug war politician is worth my vote
They is all disgusting to me, even if they are the lesser of two evils.
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AX10 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 12:23 PM
Response to Original message
13. Thanks to that Beast Reagan and the...
CIA. :puke:
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HCE SuiGeneris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 12:26 PM
Response to Original message
14. Have to have fodder for the privatization of incarceration, no?
This behavior is beyond immoral. Thank you for surfacing this issue.
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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 09:32 PM
Response to Original message
18. Our current drug laws are counter-productive and just way too expensive
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endarkenment Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 10:00 AM
Response to Original message
21. Nobody should be in prison for non-violent offenses.
The Prison Industrial Complex is just another branch of the corrupt plutocratic duopoly that runs our failed republic. Gotta revolution. Non violent of course.
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