Tuesday, April 15, 2014

CALL TO ACTION: Oppose SB 187--Adds more penalties, increases mass incarceration in the Prison Capital of the World

In the Prison Capital of the World, with some of the harshest drug laws for non-violent offenders, legislators continue to pile on laws that will exacerbate racial and class inequities in drug enforcement. Louisiana's RS 40:981.3 defines "drug-free zones" and states that any owner of property can designate a drug-free zone by posting a sign: this includes daycares, schools (private and public), public housing, religious buildings, drug treatment facilities. The drug free zone extends 2,000 feet from any such designated area. Up until now, private homes where no one under 17 is present were excluded from the drug-free zones. Senator Kostelka (R--District 25, includes Jackson, Lincoln, Ouachita parishes) is introducing a bill today--SB 187--that now includes private residences within those drug-free zones. The consequences of such a bill are apparent: urban areas--and especially the urban poor--will be most affected by this law

Note that the penalties are ENHANCED for those arrested for drugs in a drug-free zone. The Zone was extended from 1000 ft. to 2000 ft. some years ago. Now private homes will be considered in the drug free zone, no matter if a teenager is present or not. And those arrested in their private homes (apartments, public housing) can be charged 1 1/2 the maximum fine and 1 1/2 times the "longest term of imprisonment."

Please do what you can to communicate your opposition to this bill.

Here is the link to Judiciary C, where the bill will be discussed today: http://senate.la.gov/JudiciaryC/default.asp

Here is the link to the members of that committee: http://senate.la.gov/JudiciaryC/Assignments.asp

Here is a link to the bill: http://www.legis.la.gov/legis/ViewDocument.aspx?d=875684&n=SB187%20Original

For more information on the impact of drug-free zones on certain portions of the population, see: http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2014/04/14/3425658/the-true-price-of-drug-free-zones/

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