SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 1, 2008 AT 01:59AM
Solomon Moore wrote a wonderful article in the October 31st issue of the New York Times. Although the election is tomorrow, the proximity of that crucial date hasn’t deferred Obama from speaking honestly and courageously about the American prison system.
To my surprise, I read that Obama thinks too many people are serving time in our prison system. I agree. The article quoted Obama as saying that he would eliminate mandatory minimum sentences. With 70% of those in prison serving time for drug offenses, he expressed particular concern for injustice in current policies pertaining to nonviolent drug crimes. I am optimistic that his administration will examine all nonviolent offenders and implement sensible reforms.
American taxpayers spend more than 60 billion dollars each year to fund our bloated and ineffective penal system. I am experiencing the system firsthand, obviously, and I’m convinced that we need changes. President Elect Obama and a more liberal Congress promise to govern from the ground up. I fervently hope that we will see changes that encourage individuals in prison to work toward reconciling with society.
In spite of of the fact that the New York Times article I referenced above discusses nonviolent drug offenses, I’m confident that prison reform would bring back federal parole, more opportunities to earn good time and permit nonviolent offenders to serve the final portion of their sentence on some type of work release program. These changes would make sense for the reason that by warehousing nonviolent offenders in prison, taxpayers are receiving a poor return on their investment. Our society should work toward creating opportunities rather than extinguishing hope.
My return to society will come before an Obama administration could implement change, yet I’m hopeful that our country is about to embark upon a new path. We would see more tolerance and compassion. Our citizens represent America’s greatest resource and prison reforms will encourage more people to focus on the law-abiding lives they will lead upon release.