Then the truth came out about the Government’s promises the owners of these prisons that the institutions will remain near full capacity in order to maintain profitablity.What better way to do this than with mandatory minimum sentences that guaranteed bodies in prison cells? Money that was being allocated to fight crimes were being misused. Minorities were more likely to end up in prison with lengthy sentences than whites for the same small amounts of drugs. Tax dollars were being wasted housing low-level drug dealers some of whom were not even dealers but users. The irony in all this was that the same community leaders and politicians that asked Congress for these sentences were now begging for Congress to change these laws. Their plan had backfired. The war on drugs had many casualties, some in the grave yard and some buried in prisons. Men and women spent the majority of their youth in prison victims of legislation that lacked foresight and that failed to take into account the effect that it would have on the lives of the offenders.
Enter President Obama and his United States Attorney General Eric Holder ushering in a new era of sweeping reforms. First there was the Fair Sentencing Act that reduced the disparity of crack to powder cocaine from 100-1 to 18-1. Then there came the Smarter Sentencing Act in 2013. Low level drug dealers no longer faced lengthy sentences. The men and women sentenced to those outrageous amounts of time in the late eighties to early nineties for crack cocaine were being released due to the changes in the guidelines. Overnight people went from waiting to die in prison to being released immediately, families were reunited, it was a time of celebration. The once condemned now had a chance at life again. The new men and women coming in could go to prison serve their time and come home with enough time to change their lives and be productive citizens. First time
offenders were eligible for probation and drug programs. The judges were given back their power to sentence how they saw fit. These reforms seemed like a victory for the justice system, the inmate population and the activists that were lobbying against mandatory minimum sentences.