holiday

If I Ruled the World – Parity with Criminal Sentencing – Part I: State Regulation

There’s a lot of talk about how the legalization of marijuana has changed the world.  Something that was once viewed as negative has now become legal in a lot of areas.  People have even built businesses and livelihoods off something that others are in prison for.  I’ve never used marijuana in my life or any drug for that matter, but I don’t think that its right for Alvin to be serving prison time for a quantity of marijuana that Michael is selling everyday legally in his cannabis shop.  It doesn’t make sense nor is it fair.  Additionally, this article isn’t just about marijuana sentencing let’s look at sentencing for everything across the board.  Whether someone is in jail for drugs, theft, murder, white collar crimes, and anything else you can think of, perpetrators of all ethnicities and ages should have a sentence within 10% of each other.  I know that something like that probably can’t be done overnight.  So, I would give each state 3 years to have parity in the sentencing within their state regardless of city, county, race, age, and gender.  States that don’t have 100% adherence to this will lose federal funding for every percent they are below 100.  Additionally, the state must have 100% of previous cases updated with new sentencing standard within that same 3 years.  The standards for these cases would be based on either the most lenient sentencing or an average of the most lenient versus most extreme sentencing depending on the offense.  For example, maybe theft would be based on lenient judgements while murder would be middle point average.  Once a baseline is decided by state government its locked in for at least 5 years.  Lastly, anyone that would now no longer be in violation of something that is now legal would be released from prison immediately within that time frame.  So, in summary if I ruled the world, I would create parity in criminal sentencing regardless of city, county, race, age, and gender.  I would allow each state to take on the initiative within their state.  They would have 3 years to have all sentencing within 10% of each other for any punishment they give out.  Any people that should be free based on a crime they committed that is now legal would be released within that 3-years.  Any state that doesn’t comply would lose funding.  They really isn’t any excuse on why sentencing is different between people of various races, ages, genders, or cities.  We’re all human beings and we need to start treating everyone as such.

If I Ruled the World – Make Juneteenth National Holiday

So, there’s been a big push to make Juneteenth a holiday over the past year and it finally is one.  However, I must admit it’s a little hollow for me.  Juneteenth has been made a federal holiday meaning the only entities that really have to honor it is banks, government employees, and usually schools.  Anything else is up to the states to decide.  Meaning regular companies can go on as business as usual which takes away the punch of the day being relevant.  As a kid growing up, I used to obviously observe MLK Jr. Day every year as I was a student.  Well, when I got in the work force, I thought it mattered at work too and didn’t show up.  Will when I returned Tuesday, I realized that the company didn’t observe the day.  Luckily, I was an intern, and no one noticed I wasn’t there on Monday.  However, that was an odd experience I’ll never forget.  If I ruled the world and decided Juneteenth should be made a holiday, I would make it a national one.  If you are going to commit to the action, do it!