Michigan to Release Drug Prisoners

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by RMJL, Feb 6, 2003.

  1. Michigan to Release Drug Prisoners
    Thur, Feb 6, 2003

    On March 1, some first-time, nonviolent drug offenders sentenced under Michigan's mandatory minimum law will be freed.

    The bill was passed by the Legislature in December of last year, reforming the controversial 1978 drug sentencing law that forced judges to impose long mandatory minimum sentences based on the quantity of drugs in a case. Originally, the law was intended to incarcerate drug kingpins, however, as with mandatory minimum legislations across the country, hundreds of first-time non-violent offenders were also imprisoned. Many received longer prison terms than violent, repeat offense criminals.

    In a unique alliance, the non-profit Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) worked alongside former mandatory minimum supporters, Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan, to compose the bill and push reform in the state. The movement crossed all political lines bringing together judges, families, Clergy, and the community to achieve bi-partisan support for reform.

    "It was a culmination of effort by thousands of FAMM members who organized to influence their legislators and reach out to the community to change the drug laws", said FAMM executive director, Laura Sager. "It is the real success of grass-roots organization and a public education campaign using the human face of those who had been incarcerated for decades. We're now receiving inquires from governors, lawyers and organizations all across the country asking for help to reform mandatory minimums in their state".

    Judges in Michigan can now use sentencing guidelines to impose sentences based on a range of factors in each case, rather than solely drug weight, and lifetime probation for the lowest-level offenders has been replaced with a five-year probationary period.

    Along with offenders and their families, Michigan's criminal justice system and budget also wins out. Long-term prison beds will be vacated at a time when the state's prisons are near capacity. Overworked probation officers will get relief, and the state will save millions of dollars.

    A majority of the 1,250 non-violent offenders will be released immediately on March 1. Others will be released in the near future. Officials report that the files of another 7,600 inmates serving drug sentences are being examined to see how many others qualify for release.

  3. That does sound great!
  4. thats a good thing to hear..... im in michigan, hopefully theyll be the first to loosen laws even more
    but im not gonna get my hopes up
  5. About damn time they start realising that weed smokers are not criminals.

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