The latest 10-20-life debacle for a "stand your ground" case in Florida has been getting lots of media attention. If you haven't been keeping tabs on the plight of Ronald Thompson, who is serving a mandatory 20-year prison sentence for firing a gun into the ground to protect a threatened neighbor, check out this article from the Gainesville Sun.
How atrocious is this mandatory minimum sentence? This Gainesville Sun editorial calls it "a double crime: A crime against Thompson and a crime against Florida taxpayers." Here is more:
As The Sun reported on Friday, "Thompson is nearly blind, diabetic and has had multiple heart surgeries. In the past few years, since being imprisoned, he has had surgery on his prostate and to remove tumors from his face."
Thompson's only previous crime: A DUI more than a decade earlier.
Thompson is appealing his sentence. Coincidentally, his story appeared in The Sun the same week that the American Civil Liberties Union released a report indicating that mandatory sentencing laws are slowly turning the nation's prisons into expensive geriatric wards.
The cost of caring for elderly prisoners now runs to more than $16 billion a year, the report said.This column from the Tampa Bay Times pinpoints how senseless, unintended consequences -- like paying millions to lock Thompson up for two decades -- are the result when legislators want to sound tough on crime and pass "knee-jerk legislation."
Wouldn't it be great to have an election year when lawmakers act smart on crime and pass legislation that gets rid of mandatory minimum sentences and saves taxpayers loads of money?