The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act now before Congress is based on a lie — that drug dealing is not a violent crime, wrote William J. Bennett and John P. Walters in the Washington Examiner. Americans have been told this lie for years even as we witness the violence and death caused by drug dealers in our communities. Now, this lie is propelling legislation through Congress that will destroy more lives.
Bennett and Walters, former directors of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, wrote “we carry a particular responsibility to speak up when so many who should know better claim that drug trafficking has been treated too harshly under federal law.”
In the federal prison system, 99.5 percent of those incarcerated for drug convictions are guilty of serious trafficking offenses. And according to a Bureau of Justice Statistics study of state drug inmates, 77 percent reoffend within five years of release, with 25 percent committing violent offenses. Most of these convicted drug dealers are career criminals with long rap sheets. By softening punishments for these traffickers, as this legislation does, Congress would give convicted dealers shorter sentences and early release causing destruction to communities across America.
Moreover, this push to release experienced traffickers is occurring at the same time our nation is enduring a 440-percent increase over the past seven years in heroin overdose deaths.
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