Drug Drug Offenders and the Crimes That Follow

Drug Offenders Sentencing LawsLaws created for Drug Offenders and the Crimes That FollowShauna Wilson11/4/2018AJ 125Drug Offenders Sentencing Laws:Laws Created for Drug Offenders and The Crimes That FollowIt is not easy to decipher exactly what the laws are when it comes to a specific subject especially when those laws are ever changing with each election.

So what laws are there for drug offenders and how have they changed overtime? Each election changes the severity of drug offender crime punishments and are lowering while also becoming almost obsolete. The drug offender crimes that are punished are creating opportunities for offenders to try new and more addictive drugs. Prisoners who are not even in for a drug offense are becoming drug addicted inside our prisons from other prisoners.

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What can we do to lower the drug rate in California?We currently have more than 95,000 federal prisoners locked up for drug offenses, which is way up from just than the 5,000 drug offense prisoners in 1980. Changes in drug crime patterns and law enforcement practices played a key role in this growth. Federal sentencing laws put in place during the 1980s and 1990s also have required more drug offenders to go to prison and stay there much longer than they have had to in the past. The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 demonstrates a trend in drug crimes. The law established a five-year mandatory minimum sentence for serious drug traffickers, which is defined as those convicted of crimes involving a minimum amount of illegal drugs, including 100 grams of heroin or 500 grams of cocaine. This law also created a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence for major traffickers, which is defined as those convicted of crimes involving larger amounts of drugs, including 1 kilogram of heroin or 5 kilograms of cocaine. Under the law, mandatory minimum sentences double from five to 10 years for first time offenders and from 10 to 20 years for second time offenders.

Is this a war on drugs or a war on minorities? How does less heroin equal out to same crime sentencing as a larger amount of cocaine and what is the difference? Cocaine usually comes from the Spanish and heroin from Asia. Statically, Asian descent cultures are considered more intelligent and beneficial to the United States than people of Spanish descent. So, are they just weeding out the weaker race? Of the more than 20,000 federal drug offenders who accomplished periods of post-release community regulation in 2012, 29 percent either committed new crimes or violated  the conditions upon their release.  This quantity has changed little since the 1980s, when sentences and time served began increasing. On the other hand, targeted reductions in prison terms for certain federal drug offenders have not led to higher relapse rates. In 2007, the Sentencing Commission actively reduced the sentences of thousands of crack cocaine offenders.  A study on the effects of this change found no evidence of increased relapse among offenders who received sentence reductions as compared to those who did not. In 2010, Congress followed the Sentencing Commission’s actions with a larger, constitutional decrease in penalties for crack cocaine offenders.

Citations: Levinthal, C. F. (2016). Drugs, society, and criminal justice.

Boston: Pearson. Federal Drug Sentencing Laws Bring High Cost, Low Return. (n.d.).

Retrieved from https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/issue-briefs/2015/08/federal-drug-sentencing-laws-bring-high-cost-low-return


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