In a guest article posted at NJ.com, the writer traces over the history of the American prison epidemic and how it relates to criminal charges and New Jersey inmates. The basic content draws upon a premise set forth in “A Plague of Prisons: The Epidemiology of Mass Incarceration in American,” a book by public health expert and author Columbia Professor Ernest Drucker.
It begins with the history of long-term prison sentences
In 1973, New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller sponsored a drug laws act that mandated new drug offense sentencing guidelines. These guidelines established that selling and/or possessing illegal drugs must result in the same long-term prison sentence penalties as those associated with crimes of violence such as assault, rape and robbery. In many circumstances, the ruling ensured that quantity and degree would make little difference in the length of the sentence.
A consuming law
Other states quickly adopted their own versions of the Rockefeller sentencing laws. Within no long time waiting, long-lasting penalties locked in on drug-related criminal charges and New Jersey defendants – black and Hispanic communities in particular.
Drucker declares this “Plague of Prisons” results in 25 to 30 percent of the lower-class children living with one parent behind bars. It is contagious, this outbreak of extensive prison sentencing, reaping more and more substance with each passing generation of a troubled society.
Every individual has the right to a fair and unbiased trial. Not every bad decision deserves the ultimate punishment. An experienced criminal defense attorney will help ensure that the investigators and prosecutors involved in your case do not make fatal mistakes concerning your accountability.
Source: nj.com, “Opinion: How America’s prison epidemic spread to New Jersey,” Nov. 27, 2011