Senator Rand Paul is one of the many voices arguing for better rights for our children. Some kids commit crimes as they grow, and sometimes these are non-violent crimes that should ideally be categorized as a misdemeanor. Sentencing a minor or a youngster convicted of a minor crime to punishment he justly deserves is justified. But what is not justified is if the same youngster grows up living a life full of restrictions because he happened to make one mistake when he was young.
There are many criminals in our country who get away scot-free for worse crimes than say, growing a marijuana plant in a college dorm, but while they get to live their life without any compunction because some illogical fallacy in the law allowed them to escape prison, the ones who commit stupid mistakes pay for it for decades to come if not even longer.
It’s not fair, and Sen. Rand Paul thankfully does not think so as well. The man who introduced bipartisan legislation to restore federal voting rights for non-violent prisoners who have been released from prison is now introducing another piece of legislation aimed at helping non-violent criminals re-integrate into society better.
Legislation for criminal justice reform
The piece of legislation that Sen. Paul and Sen. Cory Brooker are aiming to introduce will deal with reforms in the existing federal law giving low-level offenders a second chance at living a normal life. These reforms will give these offenders access to rights like voting and help them remove a permanent blot which can affect their employment opportunities in later life.
An offender’s criminal defense lawyers can do only so much by ensuring that their client receives a fair trial, but until the reforms are made at a constitutional level the rights of these low-level offenders will always be restricted. Senator Paul feels very strongly about the voting issue. He testified before a Kentucky Senate urging the lawmakers to restore voting rights to many of the ex-offenders who have been released from jail.
Law in America prejudiced by color
According to the statistics that criminal defense lawyers across the country are aware of, and which Sen. Paul quoted in his testimony, the war on drugs in America disproportionately affects men and women of color. Minorities in the country are more likely to be arrested for certain non-violent drug offenses. In fact, the incidence rate for minorities is four times higher than that of white people.
Though Sen. Paul agrees that drug use is a major scourge in the country, he does not believe in handing out lifelong sentences for a crime that is non-violent and where the perpetrators have a high chance of being rehabilitated. The senator’s argument is based on the fact that cursing former drug abusers to prison is only enhancing the problem, not solving it. Even criminal defense lawyers who have handled drug related cases agree that the real solution lies in mitigation and not in transforming what was originally a health related problem into a problem that negates their voting rights and causes them to lose employment opportunities.
It would certainly save the tax payer some money because every prisoner costs the tax payer about $50,000 per annum.