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It's not my job as your attorney to tell you what you want to hear, it’s to tell you what you need to know

Will anything be done to change drug crime penalties?

Senator Rand Paul penned an opinion piece recently, and no matter what side of the aisle you're on, his message is an important one to at least consider. He talked about the detrimental impact drug crimes have on younger people over the years.

One example he gives is a college student who grows a marijuana plant in his dorm room. Now, is this is poor decision on the student's part? Yes. Is he doing something illegal? Yes. But here's the most important question: should this one non-violent mistake derail the future prospects of the young person's life?

In the example, Paul explains that the individual, 30 years after growing the plant, is still unable to vote and he still struggles to get a good job. This is typical of many people who are accused and convicted of non-violent drug crimes. It seems ridiculous, right? We're turning people into individuals who can't be hired all because of a relatively minor criminal act. The punishment these individuals get, both legally and indirectly, causes them a lifetime of pain and suffering.

So what's the answer? How do we change this vicious cycle that we are inflicting upon ourselves?

Altering some of the criminal laws is a start. Factors such as minimum sentencing and excessive punishment for drug crimes don't do anything to help change or rehabilitate the accused individual. It is still called the "Department of Corrections," and these punishments do little, if anything, to help "correct" the individual. Instead, they set them up for future failures by stripping them of some crucial privileges and options.

Source: The Daily Journal, "Give kids a second chance after drug crime," Rand Paul, July 13, 2014

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