Rand Paul: 'We Went Crazy on the War on Drugs'

During a community meeting in a mostly black neighborhood of Louisville yesterday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) pressed his case for sentencing reform. "We went crazy on the War on Drugs," he said. "We have people in jail for life for nonviolent drug crimes. I think this is a crime in and of itself." 

Paul is sponsoring legislation aimed at preventing such injustices. Last spring he and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) introduced the Justice Safety Valve Act, which according to a press release from Paul's office "expands the so-called 'safety valve' that allows judges to impose a sentence below the mandatory minimum in qualifying drug cases to all federal crimes." It actually does quite a bit more than that. The existing safety valve has strict criteria: A nonviolent drug offender is ineligible, for instance, if he has more than one criminal history point, possessed a gun (even if he never used it), or played any sort of supervisory role. Paul's bill includes no such conditions, and it applies to all federal crimes, not just drug offenses. It would add a new subsection to Title 18, Section 3553 creating this general rule:

Notwithstanding any provision of law other than this subsection, the court may impose a sentence below a statutory minimum if the court finds that it is necessary to do so in order to avoid violating the requirements of subsection (a).

Subsection (a) lists the factors to be considered in imposing a sentence, which include, along with deterrence and public safety, "the nature and circumstances of the offense and the history and characteristics of the defendant" as well as "the need for the sentence imposed to reflect the seriousness of the offense, to promote respect for the law, and to provide just punishment." Hence Paul's bill would allow judges to impose sentences below the statutory minimums in the interest of justice, which makes those minimums no longer mandatory. As with deviations from federal sentencing guidelines, which used to be mandatory but are now advisory as a result of Supreme Court rulings involving the Sixth Amendment right to trial by jury, judges would have to explain their reasons for disregarding the recommended minimum, and prosecutors could appeal sentences they deemed too low.

Julie Stewart, president of Families Against Mandatory Minimums, notes that "judges follow the previously mandatory guidelines in about 80 percent of the cases," adding, "We suspect judges would follow the mandatory minimums for most cases too, at least for a few years until they got used to having discretion again." Still, the Justice Safety Valve Act represents major reform, potentially far more consequential than the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, which reduced penalties for crack offenses. Paul is scheduled to discuss his bill tomorrow at a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which Leahy chairs.

In addition to sentencing reform, Paul raised the issue of restoring voting rights to nonviolent felons, perhaps five years after they have completed their sentences if they do not commit any more crimes. A.P. reports that "some participants in the discussion said they thought five years would be too long to wait for a restoration of rights." I agree. More to the point, if Paul "would just as soon take some of these nonviolent crimes and make them misdemeanors," which he also said, why take away the voting rights of people who commit them in the first place? Imposing lifelong legal disabilities (such as loss of Second Amendment rights) on felons who have completed their sentences is an extreme step that is taken far too readily. It surely is not appropriate for people who never should have been treated as felons in the first place.

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  • mr simple||

    Paul said he wanted to give all rights back to non-violent drug offenders, including 2A rights, which he mentioned specifically. SLD, these acts shouldn't be crimes, I'm just clarifying what Paul said.

  • John||

    There were be some pearl clutching over that. Quick get the fainting couch. Gunz, Childrenz, drugs!!!

    Why does Rand Paul hate children? Why is Rand Paul such a nihilist who hates society and government?

  • ||

    I hope he's ready for the "soft on crime!" indignation from authoritarian dipshits.

  • ||

    He has to be. It's regular as clockwork; there's no way he doesn't know it's coming.

  • John||

    It won't quite be that. The spin will be that Ron Paul hates government so much that he is willing to let criminals out on the streets and worse buy guns just to stick it to the government.

    People like Paul are nihilists Episiarch. They don't want to compromise and enact new laws and solve problems. They don't see the value of cooperation and of the community good. They just care about themselves. They just want to tear everything down.

    Don't you understand?

  • Square||

    Headline will be: RAND PAUL CALLS FOR GIVING ASAULT WEAPONS TO CONVICTED DRUG DEALERS!!

  • ||

    What is the general lefty perspective of Paul? I have no doubt that they don't like him, but do they like that he's rattling republican cages? Do they see him as a useful idiot or a legitimate danger?

  • John||

    From what I have read the talking points seem to be that Paul is an evil racist who is faking a commitment to civil rights to camouflage his racist small government and economic views.

  • ||

    Ha, that is some fantastic projection right there. Thanks for the heads up.

  • RBS||

    What John said. They just know he's a racist.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    The ThinkProgress article mentioned by Irish below specifically worked the so-called "racial" angle in there.

  • RyanXXX||

    Yup, John nailed it. Only very few Leftists have any respect for Paul

  • ||

    The funny part is though, the criticism is usually directed at a bleeding heart lefty. It'll be somewhat funny to watch the attacks come not just from the right, but from the Law and Order left, and go unanswered by the usual liberal apologists for sentencing reform.

  • John||

    The Left has thrown away the mask PM. The Left fucking loves cops, and loves law and order. We have reached the point where they are openly willing to say some eggs need to be broken to make the socialist omelet.

  • sarcasmic||

    The Left loves force. There can be no order without force. No cooperation without force. Gotta use force to punish the rich and help the poor. Must force children to learn. Force people to be healthy. Persuasion is hard. Force is easy. All you need are some thugs who are happy to commit violence for you.

  • Pro Libertate||

    It's always been implied in their politics, but it hasn't been this open in this country before recently. It's got a very unpleasant 1930s feel to it, and that's not just in the Godwin sense.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Not 100% sure on this. There is the entire "Right on Crime" trend amongst conservatives. Can't guarantee that he won't get tagged as you suggest, but I think the odds are moving in the right direction.

  • John||

    Most of the prison reform movement is SOCONS. The only issue conservatives would have with this is giving them the right to vote. And that would be out of cynical political self interest. But I can't see the conservatives going after Paul for being soft on crime over this. That will be the liberals.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Well, that threatens to put them in a bind, doesn't it, though. I mean if a Hilary or a Biden tries to hit him with it, he can retort that their entire goal is to "lock up black people" (it's probably not; more likely pandering to public stupidity, but I won't get into that). The Democrats ultimately need decent black turnout to win elections. If the Republicans can tar their candidate that way, I think it would do a number on their turnout.

  • John||

    If a Republican ever got in office and did something about the drug war, he could go to the black community and tell them "I am the first President since Lincoln who set black men free". It would be a nightmare for the Democrats. So of course the stupid party has never done any such thing.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    -Most of the prison reform movement is SOCONS.

    Where do you get this information from? Yes, social conservatives have admirably begun focusing on this issue a great deal, but libertarian groups have as well. And liberal groups (such as the Congressional Black Caucus, the NAACP and the ACLU) have been 'carrying the torch' on the issue for a long time.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    It is true. "Liberal groups" are not the ones going into jail cells to interact with prisoners; SoCons and Muslims are by and large the groups doing that. I do not have a read on the American Muslim community's stance on the issue (and they are not a politically significant enough group to matter one way or another), but I have been working with Christian prison reform groups for the past 7 years and they are definitely at the forefront of this issue. Huckabee, for all his many and sundry flaws, was somewhat decent on prison reform on account of his connection to pastoral ministries within this wheelhouse.

    Groups like ACLU and other libertarian/civil libertarian groups have expressed rhetorical support for prison reform, but have not been significant in pushing for it. God Bless the ACLU for the work they do in protecting Constitutional rights, but they don't (and should not) have a broad enough mission to support going beyond that mandate. It is bad enough that they have badly mangled the 1st and 2nd Am in many cases.

  • John||

    Thanks. Bo's prime directive is that SOCONS are horrible. He is almost as narrow minded as shreek, except he doesn't have insanity as an excuse.

  • John||

    We didn't go crazy, it was just bad luck that it failed. Just like it is bad luck that Obama's second term is turning into a complete disaster. WAPO told me so.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/.....story.html

  • ||

    events overtook him

    They should carve that in the plinth of the Obama Monument.

  • John||

    It can't be that he is a politically tone deaf incompetent totally unqualified for the job that was foisted on the country by a bunch of stupid guilty white members of the media in love with the idea of electing a black man President.

    "Events overtook him". Well that is one way of putting it. Just don't mention that not being overcome by events is kind of one of the essential tasks of being President.

  • ||

    "He tried his best."

  • Pro Libertate||

    "I like to watch TV."

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Let's give him a participation medal and be done with it already.

  • John||

    President Participation Medal.

    I like that.

  • RBS||

    Isn't that what they give all those fat kids who go to gym class on a regular basis? Do public schools still have gym?

  • some guy||

    Wasn't his Peace Prize basically a participation medal?

  • JW||

    Beat me to it.

  • wareagle||

    I would say that rather than events overtaking him, he is quite comfortable to let things happen that create any support for a state "solution." It's like the economy; rational people see a bug, he sees a feature.

  • John||

    Never let a crisis go to waste.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    What they don't seem all that interested in acknowledging is that the "events" they're citing are the consequences of his own actions and policies.

  • R C Dean||

    But, despite the fact that these events were perfectly foreseeable, they weren't "intended", so our Top Men should all get a pass.

    Isn't that the way this game is played?

  • Bill Dalasio||

    It does seem to be. And yet, oddly, their reputation for intellectual weight never seems to suffer for failing to see the obvious.

  • ||

    Rethuglican obstructionism is so powerful that even the Great Obama cannot overcome it.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    ...Obama's second term is turning into a complete disaster.

    Considering the first term, why would anyone expect something else?

  • John||

    He has just had bad luck. The country is ungovernable. The racist rethuglicans refused to help him. Obama never had a chance. America doesn't deserve a man like him!!!

    Signed

    The American Media.

  • Pro Libertate||

    The country is largely ungovernable. Which makes all the money, time, and effort to make us all obey the state wasted, on top of being immoral and contrary to the tenets of a supposedly free society.

  • John||

    Well, then we need to elect a man that can change that don't we?

  • Hugh Akston||

    Obama tried to change that John, but we just refused to march in an orderly fashion. If only we were truly committed to His vision, we would be worthy of the world he tried to create before he was tragically overtaken by events.

  • PD Scott||

    "Just give me your silent, unwavering compliance and there will be an end to the horror."

  • Dr. Frankenstein||

    Just who is this man or woman who can win 99% of the vote and govern this nation. Who shall be our God-Emperor?

  • John||

    Power comes from the barrel of a gun.

  • Dr. Frankenstein||

    Mao's dead. But I like the way you're thinking on this.

  • sarcasmic||

    Which is why the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. To leave power in the hands of the people. Literally.

  • ||

    I specifically expressed interest in being god emperor last night.

    Subjugating the people through violence sounds time consuming and efforty, can't I just steal an imperial election or something?

  • Pro Libertate||

    Well, first you have to survive the spice trip, lad. Then comes the transformation.

  • R C Dean||

    Alright, I'll do it. But only for a couple of years. And only if I get modest pile of gold and diamonds as my going away present. And a pardon from my successor. Because I'll need it.

    Hell, I'll just write the pardon into the new Constitution I will adopt on my way out.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Well, I think that depends on what you mean by govern. If you mean trying to dictate everybody's life, behavior and thought, yes it's entirely ungovernable. If you mean, provide an execution of reasonably objective law protecting us from violating one another's rights, it's probably quite governable.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I meant the former.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Yeah, unfortunately, so do most of those complaining that the country is ungovernable.

  • Mr. Weebles||

    Between the House and Senate we have 535 representatives.

    Sometimes I think Rand Paul is the only sane one.

  • From the Tundra||

    I'd include Amash, too. Still, not a very good percentage...

  • Hyperion||

    Don't forget about Massie.

  • Hyperion||

    He's just one of the few in congress whose only goals are not getting rich by being an elected parasite while creating an ever increasing variety of oppressive laws for the 'common folks', while totally exempting thy self from those same laws.

    Except for the few, congress critters would love to throw that constitution and bill of rights into the fire today, do away with elections, and declare themselves royalty.

  • sarcasmic||

    Considering that 90% of them will be reelected, they don't really need to do away with elections.

  • Hyperion||

    That's starting to change though. Except in places like Cali and NY, where it will apparently never change.

    I hope that 2014 gets us some more libertarians in congress, or at least gets rid of the some of the worst, like McCain and Graham. Yeah, I realize we are stuck with Pelosi and Feinstein forever.

  • ||

    I realize we are stuck with Pelosi and Feinstein forever.

    Not true Hyperion, the lich queens keep their embalmed hearts in an obsidian box, in a cavern deep under Sacramento. One touch from a virgin, pure as the driven snow, and they will be undone. Beware, I legend tells of a reanimated Harry Reid stalking the lybranthine cavern, sapping all who stare into his droopy-dog eyes of their INT stats, and summoning mindless zombies to do his bidding.

  • Pro Libertate||

    People like Reid and Pelosi are easily destroyed if the Democrats feel they have to fake a more moderate position. It may not get Pelosi out of office, but it could knock her out of leadership. If 2014 is a huge win for the GOP, that very well could happen.

  • Brett L||

    It may not get Pelosi out of office, but it could knock her out of leadership.

    I'm more excited about Boehner and McConnell getting thrown to the curb. If you notice, McConnell is letting Rand be Rand because he doesn't want Rand supporting any primary opposition against him.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Yep, I find the McConnell shift very hopeful that at least some change will occur in the GOP. Probably not enough, but it's got to beat the current leadership.

  • sarcasmic||

    Good luck finding a virgin.

  • ||

    Good luck finding a virgin.

    Just throw a toddler in your bag of holding, or bring a eunuch with you as a personal servant, or swing by ComiCon and grab the most pimple-faced nerd you can find.

    It's not like you have to pull your virgin from the Ke$ha demographic.

  • Irish||

    Beware, I legend tells of a reanimated Harry Reid stalking the lybranthine cavern

    I believe the word you're looking for is 'labyrinthine.'

    /Jorge Luis Borges fan

  • ||

    labyrinthine

    I knew it looked wrong but the red squiggly didn't show up. This is what I get for trusting technology.

  • Irish||

    Rand Paul also argued that felons should eventually get their voting rights back and that people who committed non-violent felonies like late payment of child support or drug use should never have their voting rights taken away. This led to Think Progress publishing an article called 'Even Rand Paul thinks Felons should Get Their Voting Rights Back,' a fact which shows once and for all that liberals really don't know anything about Rand Paul.

  • John||

    It should be noted that felons will probably vote more D than R. So Paul is actually advocating for something that will probably be bad for his side. Expect the media and the Left to give him exactly zero credit for that.

  • Irish||

    Also something that would mostly help black people. He's still an evil racist though.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Places like ThinkProgress make it really hard to remain principled. Every once in a while I want to march them all straight to the guillotine, which they richly deserve.

  • Hyperion||

    Once someone has finished their sentence, their punishment should be over. Taking away the rights of anyone, forever, is total bullshit and needs to be ended. How can you disenfranchise someone for life and expect them to return to leading a normal life?

  • Irish||

    This is also why I'm not a fan of the sex offender registry. The person committed a crime and has been released. Why should they be restricted to where they can live, have to tell all their neighbors about their crime, and be in an online registry forever?

    If someone is considered too dangerous to be allowed around children, they should remain locked up in order to protect the citizens. If you've decided they aren't dangerous enough to keep locked up, then let them get on with their lives.

  • Hyperion||

    This is also why I'm not a fan of the sex offender registry

    Me either, it's total bullshit. It seems to be punishment outside of the law. Just like no fly lists. All of these lists and lifetime punishments need to be scrapped. We are creating millions of disenfranchised citizens. That can't be good for society. Only a progressive retard or soccer mom could believe that will end well.

  • ||

    Sure, Irish, THAT'S why you're not a fan of the sex offender registry.

  • Irish||

    She looked 18. What do you want me to do, check IDs?

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Even if you had, strict liability is a bitch.

  • ||

    I don't care how mature that dachshund looked, Irish, fucking that bitch in the middle of an elementary school was probably a mistake.

  • Nashdiesel||

    They can't get past the fact that Rand is with them on numerous issues. How many times are they going to attribute "stopped clock is right twice a day" to Rand Paul? They keep having to say it over and over again and they just can't get past their rage and the fact the guy has an R next to his name. All reason goes out the window dealing with these people. When any politician regardless of party does the right thing I take notice and praise them for it. I don't care what party they are from.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    I am looking forward to the squawks from Bluetards about how they would support this yabbutRandPaulRoadzSomaliaKochBrothers.

  • William of Purple||

    What's most important is that the Stillers are 0-2.

  • John||

    They are going nowhere this year. I would bet my year's salary they don't make the playoffs. They have no offensive line, no weapons on offense and their defense is not what it used to be. They are picture of a 6-10 or 7-9 team.

  • Hyperion||

    Skinz too.

    Sea Chickens look like the team this year, to me.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    It should be noted the Redskins were 3-6 before the bye and went on to win the Division.

  • Hyperion||

    Well, it's always said that the real season begins after game 8.

  • John||

    The problem is that they have been totally not competitive against two different teams. It is one thing if you are 0-2 the way the Bucs are. They can honestly say that if they fix a few things, they could be 2-0. But when you are 0-2 the way Washington and Jacksonville are, what is there to fix? No NFL team should ever look as bad as the Redskins have looked in the first half of their two games. That they could be that bad against Philadelphia and then come out and be even worse against Green Bay is really bad. It would be one thing if they had come out well against Green Bay and then finally had Rogers just enforce his will on them. But they came out and played if anything worse than they did the week before.

    No team that looks that bad has any hope. They are done. They are going to end up with a losing record or maybe worse a rock bottom top of the draft bad record.

  • Brett L||

    the way the Bucs are. They can honestly say that if they fix a few things, they could be 2-0.

    Sure with a better coach and better preparation. But I think everyone except maybe the Steelers, the Jags, and the Browns can say that.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    I'll take that bet, John.

  • John||

    You do that. I have watched 30 years of KC Chiefs football. I know what bad football looks like. I have seen this movie before. The Redskins look just like the Chiefs looked last year. Understand that the NFL is built on parity. The whole system is set up to ensure that no one team is too good or too bad. When a team gets beaten the way the Redskins were beaten the last two weeks, something is dreadfully wrong. I shouldn't happen. And don't point to meaningless points and yards run up after the game is decided. That is just a product of the NFL not giving points for style and Philadelphia and Green Bay giving up yards so that they wouldn't give up a big play and were more sure to win. When the game has been in doubt, the Redskins have been outscored 50-7 over the last two weeks. That shouldn't ever happen in the NFL. It is like seeing a blizzard in Miami. They are just a bad team.

  • Hyperion||

    Why on earth would anyone watch 30 years of the Squaws?

  • John||

    Because the alternative is watching the Broncos? We all have our crosses to carry.

    And the Chiefs are 2-0 and for the first time in ten years have a decent coach and a legitimate quarterback. Peoli may have been the village idiot, but his teams were so bad that the draft picks that resulted from them were incredibly athletic. Once they were given a decent coach, all of the sudden the defense got very good.

  • Hyperion||

    No NFL team should ever look as bad as the Redskins have looked in the first half of their two games

    Heh, I guess you didn't see Jacksonville play on Sunday. I think they got their QB and offensive line from the Eurotard league or something.

  • John||

    Them too. But everyone agrees Jacksonville is going to be lucky to win two games this year. That doesn't bode well for the Redskins.

  • Hyperion||

    The worst thing about this season is that we are all going to have to watch Epi gloat when the Sea Chickens kick the shit out of everyone.

  • John||

    It is a long season. I wouldn't get too excited. They won one game in the loudest stadium in the world. And maybe that game means that we should hold off on Colin Kapernick's induction into the Hall of Fame more than it means the Seahawks are unstoppable.

  • Robert||

    What concerns me is how the Navajos will do. We open this Sat. vs. the Javelins, and it's really hard to tell from our scrimmage how that'll go. We showed them nothing, and I'm pretty sure they did the same. And I have to miss our last practice before the game for a county committee meeting; I'm sec'y & on the credentials committee.

  • ||

    I'm enjoying that too. Enjoy being 4-12 and finishing in next-to-last place in the division, Yinzers.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Next-to-Last? Wait who...

    Oh yeah that's right :)

  • ||

    I've watched both of the Browns games, and I'm not sure if I'll watch any more. The defense is looking really good, especially the front 7, but Weeden is BAD.

  • Hyperion||

    I'm not going to say anything about them letting you down one last time.

  • John||

    I don't think he is that bad. If the Browns had anyone for him to throw to, he would look better.

  • ||

    He is that bad and worse. A good quarterback makes shitty receivers look good, a shitty quarterback with good receivers still looks shitty, and a shitty quarterback with shitty receivers wears an orange helmet. It's nature's way.

  • Brett L||

    Hey! The Bucs only wear that creamsicle uniform once a year.

  • KDN||

    a shitty quarterback with shitty receivers wears an orange helmet.

    So what you're saying is.... Mark Sanchez 2014?

  • gaoxiaen||

    Yinz just wait...

  • sarcasmic||

    Ben and Jerry what?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    It is still hard to top Jacksonville for worst team. I am still of the opinion that they should have picked up Tim Tebow, if only to give the home fans something to be happy about.

  • Brandon||

    We have people in jail for life for nonviolent drug crimes. I think this is a crime in and of itself."

    I have read that Paul doesn't support complete legalization. So at what point does punishing someone for nonviolent crimes become a "crime in and of itself?" 5 years? 10? Taking their money and property? It's sad that this is our best hope in government.

  • Hyperion||

    He does support complete legalization.

    Guy is running for POTUS in 2016 and needs to get the SoCon vote, remember?

  • Brandon||

    Similar things have been said about Obama.

  • Hyperion||

    Umm, Rand Paul is not exactly Obama. There is no real comparison to be made there.

  • sarcasmic||

    I have read that Paul doesn't support complete legalization.

    Not publicly anyway. That's political suicide.

  • From the Tundra||

    Yep. Pitch it to the states and stay out of the way.

  • Hyperion||

    ^This^

    It took the proggies over 100 years to completely ruin the country, we're not going to undo that in a day.

  • ||

    Am I being too much of a purist to be annoyed by his lack of principles on this issue? Look, if you're for Drug Legalization than be for it. This "well, 6 months in prison is better than life" may be true, but it's ultimately still bullshit.

    Fuck you, legalize.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    To answer your question, yes.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    "Am I being too much of a purist to be annoyed by his lack of principles on this issue?"

    Probably, you are. Politics is the art of the possible. And, bluntly, there really isn't yet a winning coalition that's going to push legalization. So, what should a practical politician do? Take a principled position that nobody's going to support or pursue a position that maybe, just maybe, might get enough people to sign on to push the needle in the right direction.

    And the latter might actually be a better policy in winning converts. If I walk into a room filled with a broad cross-section of Americans and say "we should legalize all drugs tomorrow morning", I may be right, but people are going to write me off as a quack. On the other hand, if I walk into the same room and say "We shouldn't be locking people up for twenty years for having a little bit of marijuana on them", I'm going to get a much fairer hearing and even acceptance.

  • Voros McCracken||

    The argument is that Rand believes essentially the same things as his dad, but he also saw that displaying that kind of ideological purity crippled his dad's chances of competing in a national election. Popular support for the legalization of heroin, for example, is almost certainly is below 2%.

    Whether that's true about him or just wishful thinking remains to be seen.

  • ||

    So the plan is to hide his true self until he's the president, and then SURPRISE!!!

    What does that say about his moral fiber?

  • sarcasmic||

    He's a successful politician. What does that say about his moral fiber?

  • ||

    Touche.

  • Robert||

    Slave off, fucker.

  • Nashdiesel||

    You are if you actually want to see him re-elected or elected to higher office.

  • Libertarius||

    End drug laws? Yes.

    Redefine felonies to only include violations of force and fraud? Yes.

    Give felons the right to vote? NO.

    If, in a free and rational society, you commit a felony--which would mean, you initiate force or fraud--by that very action you have exempted yourself from morality and from a society of rational human beings. Such a man would deserve the status of an outcast, as it was his choice to make; he left his victim/s no such choice, in the first place.

    It is a hideous violation of justice (perfectly consonant with your utilitarianism) that you believe a criminal should be restored to the same rights he rejected in the commission of his crime, that he should hold the same legal status as his victim/s. In a rational society, the only destruction any man has the right to choose is his own, and once he has made that choice, there is no going back.

    When you propose to equate a felon with a rational human being, what are you serving and what are you rejecting?

  • tarran||

    Why not execute felons automatically Libertarius? After all, if they aren't human beings but instead vermin that hunt us, why tolerate their continued existence?

  • Hyperion||

    Might as well. Libertarius here, doesn't sound very liberty minded to me.

    So a person makes a mistake and they are an outcast, forever?

    Then just create an outcast village in some wasteland and stick them in there. Or just execute them. Stripping someone of their rights as a citizen after they have served their due sentence under the law, is inhumane.

    So what Libertarius is basically saying is that every felony deserves a lifetime sentence.

  • sarcasmic||

    The problem with not allowing felons to vote is that it creates a perverse incentive to make everything a felony.

  • John||

    Just repeal the drug laws and give the people convicted of drug offenses their right to vote back. You can then continue to keep the real criminals from voting if you like.

  • Irish||

    If, in a free and rational society, you commit a felony--which would mean, you initiate force or fraud--by that very action you have exempted yourself from morality and from a society of rational human beings. Such a man would deserve the status of an outcast, as it was his choice to make; he left his victim/s no such choice, in the first place.

    So if I'm 19 years old and I get in a bar fight, I should not be allowed to vote when I'm 40? It strikes me as an unfair punishment to disenfranchise someone forever for a crime that may only get him 2-3 years in prison. I get released when I'm 22 after serving my sentence for aggravated assault, and I shouldn't be allowed to vote from now until my death?

  • Hyperion||

    How about Shariah law, Libertarius? You a fan?

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    I bet you thought this was really thoughtful and convincing.

    Which is kinda the saddest thing I've seen today. And I do divorces.

  • ||

    You sound...familiar.

  • Hyperion||

    Murikan?

  • wareagle||

    so you advocate the equivalent of a permanent scarlet letter. What could possibly go wrong with telling someone who served his punishment that he is forever a half citizen, living under laws and a govt he has no say in at all. Yeah, this goes well.

    The phrase is "life in prison" not life as prison. If the person satisfied his debt to the state, then it's done.

  • Hyperion||

    Exactly. Creating a society full of disenfranchised citizens is a really, really, stupid, not to mention inhumane idea.

  • sarcasmic||

    What better way to solidify your power than to disenfranchise people who do not obey your arbitrary authority?

  • jway||

    We should end the marijuana prohibition and let marijuana be legalized like beer and wine. Keeping marijuana illegal makes it easily accessible to children and prevents adults from switching away from alcohol and to marijuana, which is a much safer alternative.

    I feel a bit insulted having to pay so much for the prohibition when its only achievement is to make society less safe. I think we have a duty to this country to clearly tell our legislators to put marijuana onto the same legal footing as alcoholic beverages.

  • sarcasmic||

    Tell that to all the police, jailers, lawyers, drug abuse counselors, piss testers, probation officers, and everyone else who would be out of a job if the stuff was made legal. We're talking about potentially millions of people here who depend upon the war on marijuana users for their livelihood. Why do you want these people and their families to be made homeless? Think of the children!

  • Robert||

    In this case I'll accept it as the trade for greater freedom, but in general I hate "notwithstanding" provisions. They make statutes hard to figure out, because you could have to go thru the entire code to make sure a provision applies.

  • Overtaxed||

    I just recently experienced the feeling of being disenfranchised first hand and was rather shocked. When I was a young man, I had a drug/alcohol problem and racked up a few DUIs. Nobody was injured, I paid my fines, got treatment, and haven't been in any trouble for over a decade. Honestly I never even give it a 2nd thought anymore, it's behind me and a chapter in my life I was happy to close.

    That is, until last week, when, after years of never having a problem, I was pulled out for an enhanced inspection at the US/Canada border and informed that I could no longer enter Canada because of my driving violations that occurred from 10-20 years ago. My jaw hit the floor; I simply could not believe that, after serving my sentence and being a productive member of society for so long that this would ever come up again. And, after being denied entry (and told "don't ever come back") I started to look into my options to get rid of this black mark on my record and found out; it's actually impossible (well, without a pardon) to "fix" this.

    Data and computers can be used for good and bad. This is, IMHO, a terrible use of the technology. Sure, Canada had a law on the books for years that you couldn't enter the country with a DUI on your record. But, until recently, they never could have found it and certainly not something from 10-20 years ago. However, the world has changed, and now, thing you did in your teens are now instantly accessible with a few taps on a keyboard.

  • Overtaxed||

    The data is good. The inability to remove the records is very bad. Used to be, if you got in trouble in one state, you could do your time and never think of it again. Perhaps move to another state if what you did was really bad and it was impeding your career progress. Now, there's really no escape, and no way to "erase" you past.

    We have to put a system in place that automatically removes things from your record after a period of good behavior. My situation is minor compared to those convinced of felonies 30 years ago; there's simply no reason to continue to punish them. And, as data access gets better and more efficient, the punishment gets more and more severe every year that passes. We need a way to "forgive" and restore all rights to citizens; both for minor and serious crimes (with different waiting periods, of course).

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