Sickening. From ThinkProgress:
John Horner had no record of drug-dealing when he was sentenced to a 25-year mandatory minimum prison term for selling some of his own pain pillsto an undercover informant who befriended him and told him he could not afford both his rent and his prescription medication. Horner, a fast-food restaurant worker and a father, had been prescribed the pain medication because of an injury in which he lost an eye, according to a BBC report.
If, as expected, he serves all 25 years, Horner will be 72 when he is released, and he will have spent more time in prison than the former Enron CEO who was convicted in one of the largest corporate fraud schemes in modern history. Last week, the Department of Justice said it is considering a deal to shorten Jeffrey Skilling’s sentence. But even if he serves every year, Skilling will still have fared better than Horner with a sentence of 24 years.
This is what the “War on Drugs” hath wrought. People selling small amounts of drugs to pay for food and rent are facing longer mandatory minimum sentences than banksters who defraud people for millions — sometimes billions — of dollars.
White collar crime has very few to none mandatory minimum sentences, while blue collar crime, particularly drug crimes, have a plethora of mandatory minimum sentences, and disproportionately send low-income people of color off to prison.
If we’re going to have mandatory minimums for drugs, which I absolutely abhor, at least consider a mandatory minimum for financial crimes — say, one year for every hundred thousand stolen and/or defrauded? Remember, Bernie Madoff is the exception in sentencing and not the rule.