Republican congressman F. James Sensenbrenner is introducing a drugs bill proposing additional mandatory minimum jail sentences for drugs offences, including heavy prison terms for parents who fail to inform cops if they discover any drug activity anywhere near their kids.
Under his snitches charter, parents who witness or learn about drug trafficking activities, targeting or even near their children, if they do not report it to law enforcement authorities within 24 hours will face 3 years in jail, Prisonplanet.com reported this week.
The new bill also includes provisions for ten year minimum sentences for anyone over 21 busted supplying more than 5 grams of pot to anyone under 18, with life without parole for pot suppliers who get caught twice.
Civil Liberties organisation Stop The Drugs War branded the congressmans decision to call the bill Defending America's Most Vulnerable: Safe Access to Drug Treatment and Child Protection Act Orwellian and interviewed Steve Fox from the Marijuana Policy Project about the implications if its passed.
"It proposes incredibly harsh penalties for infractions such as 'enticing' someone who was once upon a time in drug treatment to smoke a joint. That would be a five-year sentence for a first offender," Mr Fox warned.
"And 10 years for distribution of marijuana to a minor. Even members of Congress were asking if that meant someone could go to prison for 10 years for sharing a joint at a fraternity party. Ten-year mandatory minimums are insane!"
The new proposals emerged as the Bureau of Justice Statistics revealed that current mandatory sentences were one of the key factors behind record numbers of people incarcerated in Americas gulag style prison system, which reached 2.1million in the latest figures published this week.
The record figure for mid 2004 represents a 2.3% increase year on year, with 900 extra prisoners being sentenced each week, the New York Times reported, meaning 1 in 138 Americans is now in jail. The US detention rate of 726 people per 100,000 was almost five times that of the second heaviest prison country, Britain, which currently jails 142 people per 100,000.
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/383/senselessness.shtml (House conservatives led by Judiciary Committee chairman Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) are moving ahead with a draconian anti-drug bill that would set harsh new mandatory minimum sentences for federal drug crimes as well as creating new drug crimes with even more harsh mandatory minimums . . .)
http://www.famm.org (Families Against Mandatory Minimums: HR1528 Makes virtually every drug crime committed in urban areas subject to "drug free zone" penalties that carries a five-year mandatory minimum sentence . . .)
http://prisonplanet.com/articles/april2005/190405passingajoint.htm (Passing a joint to someone who used to be in drug treatment will land you in federal prison for a minimum of five years . . .)
Jonty Skrufff (Skrufff.com)