|Graphic: Progressive Puppy|
|Free the pot prisoners|
Non-violent pot prisoners should be released before violent offenders when convicts are furloughed early due to state budget crunches, Aaron Houston of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) said in Congressional testimony Wednesday.
“Prioritizing the release of people whose only crime is marijuana-related just makes sense,” Houston said.
In his testimony, Houston asked that Congress urge the Department of Justice to encourage states “to certify that no inmates convicted of crimes of violence, including sexual abuse and assault, will be released before non-violent offenders whose sole offense relates to the possession, sale, or manufacture of marijuana.”
Houston, director of government relations for MPP, testified before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Appropriations Committee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies.
On March 31, The Associated Press reported a disturbing trend: “Inmates convicted of violent crimes are among those being freed early from California jails to save money, despite lawmakers’ promises that they would exclude most dangerous prisoners and sex offenders.”
|Aaron Houston: “Prioritizing the release of people whose only crime is marijuana-related just makes sense”|
AP said its review of inmate data showed that some of the freed criminals were convicted of assault with a deadly weapon, battery, domestic violence, and attacks on children and the elderly.
The news agency noted that similar programs were initiated or expanded in a dozen other states: Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Texas, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Houston asked the subcommittee to urge the DOJ to consider conditioning grant awards to states and municipal correctional systems on their certification that no inmates convicted of crimes of violence will have been furloughed before non-violent marijuana offenders.