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Are Sentences for Drug Dealers Fair?

By: Bethany Winkel March 18, 2015 no comments

Are Sentences for Drug Dealers Fair?

file0001354457655A 42-year-old man was recently sentenced to 10 years in prison for a sophisticated drug-dealing operation in Jersey City. The man was convicted of two counts of conspiracy to distribute drugs, along with nine counts for other crimes. Hudson County Assistant Prosecutor Lynne Seborowski painted the picture in court of a ruthless drug trafficker who has a long history of drug crimes. “Brian Richburg took over this block on Ocean Avenue basically to sell drugs and terrorize the neighborhood,” Seborowski said. “The only thing that has changed is Brian Richburg’s inmate number.”

The man convicted in this case made a plea before the judge, saying he was concerned about what would happen to his four children when he went to prison. But given the man’s history with drug dealing and the scope of his operation, the judge did not give in to the man’s pleas.

Finding the Right Sentence

We have found over the years that locking someone up in prison is not the most effective way to solve drug problems in this country. Many of those that serve their time go right back to dealing once they get out. Programs that are designed to rehabilitate drug users and dealers seem to be the most effective way to truly change lives for the better.

But many people are still uncomfortable with the idea of being lenient on drug dealers, and want harder sentencing. Drug dealers make it easy for people to get their hands on drugs, and there are many people suffering with addiction right now because they were introduced to drugs by a dealer.

The federal government has worked in recent years to find the balance between fair punishment and what is best for those that are convicted of drug crimes. In 2013, Attorney General Eric Holder launched the “Smart on Crime” initiative, which “reserves strict, mandatory minimum sentences for high-level or violent drug traffickers,” and works to rehabilitate other, lower level dealers. By looking at sentences on a case-by-case basis, judges are able to make decisions that will offer the best outcomes for all involved.

What do you think? Are sentences for drug dealers harsh enough, or should judges be handing out more prison time? Read more about the recent Jersey City sentencing here, and let us know what you think.

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