Critics of Paul Manafort’s jail sentence of 47 months are focused on the wrong issue. What’s more important is that sentences for lesser crimes among people of color are drawing jail terms that are unreasonable, not that one infamous white man is getting off easy.
The situation is not unlike the ass-backward argument used by liberals screaming for income equality. Rich people shouldn’t be targeted. Poor people should be able to earn more money for their hard work.
Manafort’s life has ended for all intents and purposes. He’s 69 years old and whether he’s in prison for 5 years or 25 years he will have no impact on anything germane to society. He will be ostracized for the rest of his days. Compounding the situation is that Manafort is not well physically. Liberals just want to lynch anyone affiliated with Trump.
The fact is a long sentence would have given the president more impetuous to pardon Manafort, a real disgrace if it happens.
Everyone knows that poor people don’t have the same access to quality legal counsel as wealthy individuals. Young, inexperienced and poorly funded public defenders are no match for district attorneys in a criminal trial. The state has unlimited resources while most defendants have nothing but an altruistic attorney trying to find him some semblance of justice for a misdeed.
Exacerbating the situation is the issue of recidivism, or the tendency of convicted criminals to reoffend. Once a young person enters the criminal system, he or she will likely return to jail. Our society would be improved if minor offenses were not punished with jail time.
It’s absurd that marijuana offenders are still behind bars. Private use of weed is going to become legal throughout the country in the near future. Our penal system should show some foresight and release all of the offenders immediately. It will have a meaningful impact on already crowded jail facilities.
The ACLU has indicated that marijuana arrests account for over one half of all drug arrests in the U.S. Of 8.2 million arrests between 2001 and 2010, 88% were for simply “having” marijuana. Blacks are 3.73 times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana.
The bad deals imposed on poor criminals are a more complex problem. The legal system has many attorneys that dedicate time to helping others. Unfortunately they do not have the financial incentives to help the individuals get a fair sentence.
It seems that many courts are more intent on pushing through cases to avoid expensive court time rather than dealing out appropriate punishment.
Congress, if it can find a way to stop wasting time with Trump witch-hunts, should spend some time putting blinders back on Lady Justice so that every American is treated fairly.