DEA employment, 1972-2014

The Drug Enforcement Administration remains well-funded -- $2.9 billion in fiscal year 2014 -- although its budget has been flat during the Obama administration. Employment has stabilized, too, at about 11,000. Employment had soared during the Reagan-Bush-Clinton...

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Bob Riley, 62, gentle Deadhead serving a life sentence for LSD

Update: Sentence not commuted. Bob Riley, a kind soul who "treads lightly in this world," is in the 22nd year of a federal life without parole LSD sentence.  The details of his unjust sentence are summarized in this New York Times article. This story is about Bob, the...

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Did Melissa deserve to die?

Indonesia executed six drug offenders on Jan. 18, 2015. They were good, interesting, peaceful people. Meet them in a short video. Eight more are scheduled to be murdered soon. Let's stop the slaughter. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lonQ7PUY2AA&feature=youtu.be...

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Texas mom named No. 19 on list of women deserving clemency

Terry Anderson, 52, a mother of now-grown twins, was added to The Clemency Report's national list of 25 Women Deserving Clemency. Anderson was arrested in 1996 for being part of a methamphetamine distribution organization in Dallas. She's been an exemplary prisoner...

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No. 23 clemency candidate Marissa Alexander released from jail

Marissa Alexander, ranked No. 23 on The Clemency Report's list of prisoners most deserving freedom, was released from prison January 27 to start two years of home confinement. Alexander, 34, had faced 60 years in prison for firing a gun in 2010 to protect herself from...

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True rehabilitation and a second chance at life

Jermaine Sims is serving a life sentence for purchasing a gun used in a fatal bank robbery in 1997. A bank teller was killed, three others were wounded. Sims did not participate in the robbery -- the two men who did are serving life for the crime -- but federal law...

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Children deserve legal standing when parents are sentenced

  Are children entitled to legal standing when parents are sentenced in criminal cases? The current answer is "no." The answer should be "yes." Today, the well-being of defendants' children is close to irrelevant in criminal courtrooms. Indifference to children...

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Indonesia accelerates program to murder drug offenders

Update: Indonesia temporarily delays killing Australians An Indonesian firing squad will execute Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran as early as today for involvement with heroin smuggling. The nation of 250 million people -- spread over 900 inhabited islands...

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Crack Lifer Project: A quest for justice

By Veda Ajamu President and Founder, Crack Lifer Project "Never, never, never give up" -- Winston Churchill I will never, never, never give up on fighting for freedom and justice for my brother, Robert Shipp, as he is serving a dreadful inhumane life sentence for 5...

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Tyrone Sturdivant: How “Crack + Black = Life” works

Tyrone, a black man, was charged in 2005 with selling crack cocaine and powder cocaine in overwhelmingly white Mason City, Iowa. Blacks account for 1.8% of the town's 28,000 residents. Tyrone's drug selling -- no violence involved -- was investigated entirely by local...

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Lisa Lorentz, 44, working class kid, great parents

  Lisa grew up in a nice suburb outside of Dallas, Texas, in a loving, working-class home with two older brothers. Her parents have been married 50 years. Despite this upbringing, she had difficulty fitting in during her teenage years. She eventually dropped out...

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Why mandatory minimums can’t work

Nobody is one thing. Nobody is just a drug dealer, father, hockey player, troubled teen, cheerleader or drunk driver. Mandatory minimum sentences -- especially at today's sadistic lengths --  can never make society more just because they rely on a false belief: that...

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Onrae Williams: Life without parole for $60 of crack cocaine

From ACLU report, A Living Death: Life without Parole for Non-Violent Offenses Onrae Williams was sentenced to LWOP for selling less than a third of a gram of crack cocaine, an offense he was accused of committing when he was only 22 years old. His two prior...

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RIP: Roderick “Rudd” Walker, 41, LSD lifer and Deadhead

Roderick "Rudd" Walker, 41, a gentle Deadhead serving life without parole for LSD, died in federal prison Tuesday of an apparent heart attack. Jeremy Davis, Rudd's best friend, broke the sad news in a Facebook post. "I can’t believe I’m writing this, or even able to...

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Obama grants clemency to just 8 federal prisoners

6  crack and 2 meth offenders released 2,000+ non-violent drug lifers ignored President Obama continued the sad practice of being stingy with clemency. On Wednesday, the president commuted the sentences of only 8 federal inmates -- or 0.000037% of 212,283 federal...

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Marijuana prisoners: How you can help

The marijuana prisoners on the list of The 10 Most Outrageous Marijuana Prison Sentences are deeply grateful for the outpouring of public support that has followed publication of Beth Curtis' amazing list. You can help by signing their change.org petitions supporting...

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LaVonne Roach: “See what she saw”

LaVonne, serving 30 years for meth, is one of the most admirable prisoners we've written about. She's No. 13 on our list of women deserving presidential clemency. Here's an article that offers a different perspective on this fine woman. Consider how her life compares...

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Helping cops know when to shoot

Editorial: The job of being a cop is an odd mix between social worker and soldier. Andy Griffith, the fictional Mayberry, N.C., sheriff from the 1960s, is an example of cop as social worker. He mostly nudges his community, calming his overreacting deputy and letting...

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Rosa Parks’ mug shot

It was Thursday, December 1, 1955. How should news stories have reported this arrest? In fact, newspapers said nothing. The first story was published Sunday, December 4, in the Montgomery Advertiser. The story (reprinted below) focused on Negro leaders planning to...

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An interesting list of presidential pardons

David Christy, an editor at the newspaper in Enid, Okla., provides a fascinating summary of presidential pardon and commutation recipients. Do non-violent  offenders not deserve  the same compassion? Some 20,000 pardons and clemencies were issued by presidents in the...

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Our country jailed about 1 of every 600 people until 1980.

Then, we made an error.

Today, we imprison 1 of 140.

Prisons today house mostly nonviolent offenders, a half million drug prohibition violators alone. Thousands are serving life without parole for nonviolent drug offenses.

People like Sharanda Jones…

…and Tim Tyler.

Millions of children unnecessarily lose parents.

Like Dad Weldon Angelos…

… and Mom Lori Newhouse.

If we punished justly, prisons and jails would hold …

...serious, mostly violent criminals.

We would release…

...saving $50 billion annually.

Creating scenes like this…

camp

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