Loretta Clark: Drug sentences are too long

01/03/2014 12:00 AM

01/02/2014 8:51 PM

Drug sentences are too long

Regarding “Sentencing commission idea faces long odds” (Dec. 23, Page A1): I understand that violent crimes need tough sentencing laws. What I find to be terribly upsetting is the grossly disproportional sentencing laws for relatively minor crimes, which are generally due to drug addiction. For example, petty theft with a prior conviction can, in some instances, add up to a six-year mandatory minimum sentence. At 80 percent, this will cost taxpayers over $300,000 to house and feed the inmate. Such crimes could easily be reclassified as misdemeanors. This is where “restorative justice” comes in. For less than $30,000, a drug-addicted person could get help while saving taxpayers $270,000.

Gov. Jerry Brown himself has said, “Prisons are spawning beds for crime.” Let’s educate and rehabilitate. We are all in this together.

LORETTA CLARK

Modesto

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