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ACLU Reports New Findings and Drugs and Prison

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 28 Mar 2011 10:04am | comments
Ann Shelton tells how her son was imprisoned for drug posession

Black Mississippians are three times more likely than whites to go to prison on drug charges, even though drug use rates are virtually identical. That's according to a new report released by the American Civil Liberties Union Of Mississippi . MPB's Lawayne Childrey reports on efforts to stop what some call the vicious cycle of incarceration.

Ann Shelton of Jackson believes her sons non violent cocaine conviction was overly harsh for the crime he committed.

"They charged him with the two little sugar packs which people have tons of. And then they charged him 34 years."

Of the 20 thousand people incarcerated in Mississippi prisons, Nsombi Lambright with the American Civil Liberties Union says nearly 80% of them are there for simple drug offensives and should be offered treatment instead of long term drug sentences.

"20, 30 40 year sentences are ridiculous. These folks are in there for non violent offenses and they are in their for long periods of time and they are wasting tax payer money."

The report recommends improving the federally funded drug task force, curbing the abuse within the confidential informant system and reforming harsh sentencing for non violent offenders. State Representative Adrienne Wooten OF Hinds County also serves as an assistant Public defender in Holmes County. She says she is pressing for improved drug court legislation.

"We need to look at the requirements that we have put in place that allows or disallows a person to participate. And take into consideration that there are some circumstances that a person who has an addiction would actually act out in a certain way and not allow that to prevent a person from participate in a program they could benefit from."

The report also calls for corroboration of testimony by all informants. Lawayne Childrey MPB News.


Ann Shelton tells how her son was imprisoned for drug posession



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