Dear Sheree Krider:
Our nation is currently incarcerating a record one in 99 adults,
according to a new report by the Pew Center on the States. You can read
The New York Times’ article on the U.S. government’s war on the
American people here.
This horrifying statistic was calculated by adding the number of people
in federal and state prisons (almost 1,600,000) to the number of people in
local jails (723,000). With American adults numbering about 230,000,000,
the report concluded that one in 99 adults is currently behind
This is madness. As previous studies have found, our nation imposes
harsher sentences for nonviolent drug offenses than for many violent
crimes, creating a steady, unconscionable increase in the prison
population. Visit www.mpp.org/victims
to read stories of nonviolent marijuana prisoners.
The Pew report points to the urgent need to tax and regulate marijuana,
as fully 3% of our nation’s 2,323,000 prisoners are incarcerated because
of marijuana offenses. Indeed, Pew’s recommendations included diverting
nonviolent offenders away from prison.
The report also highlights how the U.S. criminal justice system
inordinately penalizes people who are not white. Appallingly, one in 36
Hispanic adults is behind bars, as are one in 15 black adults, not to
mention one in nine black men between the ages of 20 and
34. And these numbers don’t include people on parole or
probation, which means even more than one in nine black men aged
20 to 34 is caught up in the criminal justice system.
Who are our nation’s drug laws helping by locking up so many young
black men — or by forcing so many adults into jails and prisons? True drug
addicts? Nonviolent drug offenders? Their families?
If you’re as outraged by these statistics as I am, please turn your
anger into action by helping MPP restore some sense to our nation’s laws
by ending marijuana prohibition: Become a
monthly pledger today.
MPP is the largest organization focused solely on releasing from
jail/prison the 3% of inmates who are marijuana offenders. In 1995, we
helped to reduce the federal sentencing guidelines for marijuana
cultivation, resulting in the release of hundreds of federal prisoners.
Every time we pass a medical marijuana law — as we did in Maryland,
Vermont, Montana, and Rhode Island, and as we hope to do in Michigan this November — we protect seriously ill
marijuana users from jail. We’re assisting a campaign in Massachusetts to decriminalize marijuana via
a ballot initiative in November, which would end the arrest of marijuana
users (and therefore 6% of all arrests) in the state. And we’re supporting
bills that are currently moving in Vermont and New Hampshire that would
eliminate the threat of jail for marijuana possession.
We face a long battle in rolling back the entrenched tradition of using
incarceration as the solution to our nation’s woes. Please join MPP for
the long haul by signing up
for our monthly pledge program today.
Thank you for standing with us in this worthy fight.
P.S. As I’ve mentioned in previous alerts, a major philanthropist has
committed to match the first $3.0 million that MPP can raise from the rest
of the planet in 2008. This means that your
monthly pledge will be doubled.
P.P.S. You can opt out of receiving fundraising mentions in the e-mail
alerts I send you in 2008 by visiting www.mpp.org/2008optoutpreference
at your convenience.
MPP will be able to tackle all of the projects in our 2008 strategic
plan if you and other allies are generous enough to fund
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