v'ܩ What Happens To The Imprisoned If You Legalize Controlled Substances?
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What Happens To The Imprisoned If You Legalize Controlled Substances?

If, in an imaginary world, we were to legalize - or even just make it a misdemeanor to use - illegal drugs (Pot, Cocaine, Meth, etc.) what would we do with the people already in jail for those crimes? It seems we, by we I mean legislators, would be faced with choosing between two options. They could keep them imprisoned, what they did was illegal when they did it. Or, they could write the laws such that they were retroactive - essentially freeing people currently incarcerated. Derek’s recent post about the “Unintended Consequences of Congress’s Actions” got me thinking. Previously, I might have said that the only fair thing would be to free them, now I’m not so sure that’s a good idea.

The prison system has some serious problems. One of the problems is that prison to often serves as a way for criminals to make criminal contacts and grow in their chosen ‘trade’. I worry that, perhaps, the criminals locked up for drug related charges will not be the same people who get released if a law like this were to be retroactive. Would we find a group of people with chips on their shoulders and new skills learned in jail or a group of people ready to accept responsibility for their past actions and move on to become productive members of society. I’m not sure… but Derek’s post has certainly made me take a second look at this.

Author: T.J. Seabrooks Categories: General Politics Tags:
  1. May 13th, 2009 at 20:22 | #1

    That is an interesting thought. There could definitely be some unintended consequences that go along with letting a bunch of prisoners out at the same time, but I think that is probably still what should happen. It seems wrong to be in prison for something that is not currently illegal. Though, most people who are serving time are in for other things as well. I suspect that most would just get a slightly shorter sentence due to taking the drug use away.

  2. May 13th, 2009 at 20:54 | #2

    I know that in the past people generally remain in prison unless the legislators specifically put a stipulation in the legislation to make it ‘retroactive’ Genarlow Wilson FTL

  3. June 19th, 2009 at 23:29 | #3

    I would hope they would serve the sentence they were committed to…

    however, that being said, with the much reduced population of offenders hitting the courts, one would hope that those same courts would begin to retry those people who were convicted under previous statutes, and make amends for those who are now considered wrongfully imprisoned.

    and yes, I do believe that if the government imprisons you without cause, that they do owe you some recompense

    just my seventeen cents