JUDGE COMPARES DRUG WAR TO SLAVERY, BRAVELY REFUSES TO PUT CONVICTED DRUG FELON IN PRISON
Brooklyn, NY — It appears that America has awakened to the problem of mass incarceration–an issue underscored by the fact that the U.S. holds less than 5 percent of the world’s population but houses about 22 percent of the world’s prisoners. Congress is now making a token effort at criminal justice reform, including the reduction of mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent offenders, but even this faces opposition from the most fervent police state crusaders.
In the face of inaction, one New York judge is stepping outside the box to breathe life into a much-needed national debate. Judge Frederick Block of the Federal District Court chose not to send a woman to prison who was convicted of felony drug charges, instead sentencing her to probation.
Block said that the plethora of collateral consequences that people face after being convicted—amounting to 50,000 federal and state statutes—serve “no useful function other than to further punish criminal defendants after they have completed their court-imposed sentences.”
In other words, people like Chevelle Nesbeth, who was arrested at Kennedy International Airport after 600 grams of cocaine were found in her luggage, face enough punishment through collateral consequences. There is no reason to send this nonviolent “offender” to jail.