Prison beds should be reserved for those members of society that are such a threat to others that they need to be locked up so that they can’t re-offend. This obviously would include rapists, murderers, child molesters, etc. To throw marijuana consumers, sellers, and growers into the prison population with violent criminals is a huge was of resources and a huge injustice. Italy is taking a step in the right direction by releasing roughly ten thousand inmates from prison. Per The Weedist:
Italy is poised to release about ten thousand inmates due to a shift in sentencing laws that eases punishment for cannabis use, growth and possession. The change comes as a result of the striking down of a law that previously tripled cannabis related sentences.
The estimate is that about 40% of Italian inmates were convicted of drug related crimes. In reality, this “new” law is not new at all. The Italian judicial system is rather reverting back to the previous law (prior to the ludicrous mandatory tripling of sentence law). After this takes effect, hard drugs like cocaine and heroin will result in much longer sentences than cannabis infractions. For some it means they would be released on time served, for others it’s a reduction in sentencing from 6-20 years down to 2-6 years.
This is a great move by Italy, but it doesn’t go far enough. People in Italy, and around the world, need to keep pressure on for reform until every marijuana inmate is released from jail, and legalization is achieved worldwide. Still, this is a great step in the right direction, and I hope that more countries move in this direction, including the United States. Jeff Mizanskey is currently serving a life sentence in a Missouri prison for marijuana only offenses.