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Petition Tag - mandatory minimums
Of all the stories that might be told about the prison system in this country — and they are legion — the tales that are rarely heard are those of the families of the imprisoned.
Millions of Americans are traumatized by the mass incarceration in this country. One frantic call from the local jail catapults an entire family on a frightening journey that no family would wish to travel. Their traumatic journey encounters endless frustration and infuriating madness from which there is no escape.
There is no worse feeling than that of being alone and helpless. This applies to the families of those who are incarcerated just as much as it does to those behind the walls. Our goal is to bridge the communication barrier that exists in and around the criminal "justice" system today and bring everyone in the prisoner support community closer together to effect change in policy, prisoner rights, sentencing and so much more.
Our vision is a nation in which sentencing is individualized, humane, and sufficient but not greater than necessary to impose just punishment, secure public safety, and support successful rehabilitation and reentry.
Supporters include taxpayers, families, prisoners, attorneys, judges, criminal justice experts and concerned citizens.
Mandatory minimum sentencing laws require harsh, automatic prison terms for those convicted of certain federal and state crimes. These inflexible, "one-size-fits-all" sentencing laws are popular with Congress and state lawmakers because they seem like a quick fix solution for crime.
But mandatory minimums undermine justice by preventing judges from fitting the punishment to the individual and the seriousness of their offense. Because of mandatory sentencing laws, the population of federal and state prisons has soared, resulting in exorbitant costs to taxpayers and excessively long prison sentences for too many people in the United States.
Mr. Weldon Angelos has the unique distinction of being sentenced to 55 years as a first time, non-violent offender. He was convicted of selling marijuana and having guns present.
The sentencing judge, Judge Cassell, stated that he regretted having to send Weldon Angelos to prison for 55 and said it was cruel, unusual and irrational.
He also cited other known cases where the sentencing had been far less for much worse crimes, such as:
• 24 years: airplane hijacker
• 19 years: bomb-detonating terrorist,
• 13 years: beating someone to death in a fight
• 15 years: three-time child rapist
• 11 years: raping a 10-year-old child.
Ben Valdez Jr.
Chairman, Free Weldon Angelos