Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Waiting to Die in Prison—for Selling a Couple of Bags of Pot

...How many prisoners are serving life sentences for pot? At least 69, based on data collected by the American Civil Liberties Union and other organizations. But that figure probably is low, particularly if you count older inmates serving lengthy sentences who will likely die in prison. Federal judges have sentenced 54 people to life without parole for marijuana crimes since 1996, according to the Clemency Report. Solid numbers are hard to find. "Incarceration data for cannabis-only-related offenses is the holy grail of criminal-justice data for cannabis law reformers," says Allen St. Pierre, the executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, who has filed dozens of requests for this information. "All the time it seems like I learn of another one that I'd never heard of before," says Cheri Sicard, vice president of the CAN-DO Foundation, an advocacy group for nonviolent drug offenders.


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