On Tuesday, April 7th, Kentucky Senator (and Dr.) Rand Paul announced that he’d like you to vote for him on November 8th of next year as he made official his candidacy for President of the United States.
We know that one of the things that sets Paul apart from his official and presumptive competitors seeking the Republican nomination is his stance on prison reform; in particular, Sen. Paul has taken great issue with the overwhelmingly disproportionate rates at which minorities are incarcerated for non-violent crimes.
While Republican politicians tend to be less lenient when it comes to punishing drug offenders, Sen. Paul, guided by the same libertarian-minded philosophy that influenced his father, Fmr. Rep. Dr. Ron Paul, has taken a markedly progressive stance when it comes to an issue that is of great concern to our Pembroke Pines and Delray Beach drug crime defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert.
Rand Paul, the ophthalmologist-turned-senator who still practices pro-bono eye medicine in developing parts of the world, made headlines last year when he teamed up with then-newly elected Senator Cory Booker, a Democrat from New Jersey. The two freshmen senators introduced a complete overhaul of the country’s criminal justice system aimed at cutting government spending and making it easier for nonviolent criminals to become productive members of society.
Senator Paul has spoken frequently about the fact that our nation’s prisons are overcrowded with nonviolent criminals, in particular with people who are serving disproportionately long prison terms for relatively minor drug offenses. Our Pembroke Pines and Delray Beach drug crime defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert have written about this problem as well. Our prison problem is so severe it’s almost incomprehensible; that said, consider this: the U.S. makes up just 5% of the world population, but we have about 25% of the world’s prison population.
The United States incarcerates more people (per 100,000) than any other country (for which there is decent prison data) on the planet except for Seychelles, a small and largely unheard-of island nation off the eastern coast of Africa. That’s right: even Saudi Arabia, Iran and China, who have laws outlawing such things as homosexuality and political speech, imprison fewer people than we do.
The so-called REDEEM Act, the bill set forward by Paul and Booker, encourages states to take a number of steps, including raising the age of criminal responsibility to 18, expunging and/or sealing the records of juveniles who committed non-violent crimes before the age of 15, placing limits on solitary confinement of most juveniles, etc. These proposals could mean a lot of positive changes. For instance, sealing the records of juveniles keeps them out of FBI background checks requested by employer, thereby making it easier for individuals who may have erred in their youth to secure employment and be productive members of society. Our Pembroke Pines and Delray Beach drug crime defense lawyers know that making it easier for nonviolent criminals to secure jobs makes recidivism, which costs society a great deal, far less likely.
Sen. Rand Paul has some strong, valid points about our criminal justice system. Whether or not he will win his party’s nomination, or whether or not he can beat his potential democratic opponent, are separate issues. For now, we are happy that this perspective — that change is needed desperately in our criminal justice system — has made its way into the national dialogue.
If you have any questions about this or any other criminal defense or drug crime issue, or if you have been arrested for or charged with a crime in Palm Beach, Broward or Miami-Dade County, please contact our drug crime defense lawyers at Leifert & Leifert by calling 1-888-5-DEFEND (1-888-533-3363) to schedule a free consultation. We look forward to assisting you.