Drug War Prisoners

July 2001: Letter from a POW
"So what's so funny about killing that guy?"
(A POW sends a news clipping from the Wall Street Journal dated 4-26-01. The heading reads "Financial Crimes Merit More Prison, Judicial Panel Says." The judicial panel is the US Sentencing Commission, which would send Congress its proposed amendments to the Sentencing Commission Guidelines on May 1. The proposed amendments were designed to sharply increase prison sentences for fraud, insider trading, and other financial crimes.)

Dear Website,

This article is from the recent Wall St. Journal. I showed it to some of the inmates here, and most of them said the same thing. "Big deal, they give drug offenders 3 times that amount of time for a fraction of the dollar value of the drugs seized or sold by the perps."

Or: "I shouldn't complain about getting 60 months for my white collar crime, when I see guys doing 15 years like [this person] for a measly 10#s of pot. After all, I did embezzle over 6 million."

Or: "It's gross what the government and the courts are passing off as "fair sentences" when they give non-violent drug offenders more time than they give murderers."

Those are just a few of the comments I received when showing this article around the prison, and it reminded me of the time I was on the prison bus in 1994 going to Otisville prison up in Middletown, NY. Across the aisle from me, 2 guys were having a hearty belly laugh about something, and being down in the dumps I asked them what they found so funny. The larger of the two said to me:

"We're laughing at the expression on the face of the drug dealer we strangled to death."

This caught me off guard. I was quiet for a few moments, until I said to the fellow, "So what's so funny about killing that guy?"

He turned to me and said, "It's not so much that the look on his face as we were strangling him was funny, it was just the lack of real caring that the prosecutor displayed when we were forced to admit to offing the dealer. We were told if we'd cop a plea to manslaughter and provide substantial assistance in the investigation of other druggies, we wouldn't face a murder one rap."

With this info, I started doing the math. The larger fellow musta seen the wheels turning in my head, because he said to me, "Hey, by the way, what are you in for and how much time did you get?"

I responded: "Marijuana drug conspiracy, and I got 76 months." (This was before I got the "fresh" 10 years last March for the acts of 2 of my co-defendants, who apparently sold over 5 kilos of cocaine.)

Well, at this revelation they looked at each other and burst out laughing even harder. Once their laughing subsided enough, I asked them what it was I said that they found so funny. The larger one - he apparently was the spokesman - said, "Guess how much time we got?"

I was totally befuddled, and took a wild guess. "10 years."

His face crinkled up in a big satisfied grin, as he revealed his triumph. "Hell no, we each got 40 months."

This is the kind of injustice that makes me want to hurl my lunch. This is your government's idea of justice! Not mine … predators copping pleas, to soon be out on the street, preying on yours and my loved ones. This bullshit has to change, and soon.


And by the way, over the years I've read hundreds of books, but this last book that I read was truly amazing. I'm talking about Rodney Stich's book "Drugging America: a Trojan Horse."

The book was released last year by Diablo Press, and at over 500 pages it's a must for those who really care about the future of our great nation. I want you to obtain a copy of the book somehow, and after you've read it I hope you'll tell your friends about it, as I've told you.

If you don't agree with me after you've read it, I would have to wonder about your feelings for this country. This book will have a profound impact on this generation, and more likely generations to come. I pray that you take the time to read this book, because every American needs to understand what's really going on with this country's law-enforcement and related government agencies. I ask only one thing. After you have read the book, tell a friend about it, and better yet get them to read it too.










About COUSColumns SectionContact COUSDocuments SectionDrug War Talk SectionLegalizationLettersLight SideLinksMediaProjectsResearch