The federal government has subsidized the criminalization of millions of young people simply for having a small amount of pot. “Whites Smoke Pot, but Blacks Are Arrested.” That was the headline of a column by Jim Dwyer, the great Metro desk reporter for The New York Times, in December 2009.
Now that the ballots have been counted and the citizens of the commonwealth have spoken, we need Gov.-elect McAuliffe and our elected officials to focus on revamping our criminal justice system. Moving forward, efforts must be made to make the system more effective, less costly, and fairer — restoring faith in the system so that it can work for all Virginians.
As the Senate prepares to take up changes to federal sentencing and parole guidelines, some Republicans and Democrats break from their parties' traditional stances. For decades the Republican Party prided itself for being tough on crime, often putting Democrats on the defensive by pushing for longer, mandatory sentences for convicts.