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by
Bridget Johnson

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August 14, 2013 - 5:03 am

A New York congressman, speaking in support of Attorney General Eric Holder’s pledge to pursue sentencing reform, said America is less competitive in the world because our talent is sitting behind bars.

Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) said sentencing reform advocates see that lengthy prison terms in the war on drugs are “bringing down America.”

“Likewise, you see that America is not able to compete with other countries because our talent, we are locking them up, spending all the money on jails and not putting money in schools to educate them so that they are able to take the jobs that we’re creating right here in America, the good high-tech jobs if we train them,” Meeks said on MSNBC. “We use the same amount of money that we use to lock up folks, to educate folks, then we will see we will start moving up in the world again and educating and putting people to work. And that’s what America wants because they understand it helps us when folks are working and not in jail.”

The former prosecutor said he was driven away from his profession because of discretion taken away from prosecutors and judges due to mandatory minimum sentencing laws.

“And I think what the American people are saying now, because they see these horrendous kinds of cases where people because of three strikes and you’re out, or because of the mandatory minimums are going to jail for a long period of time when they should not have gone for that period of time,” Meeks continued. “And so, they want the proper justice for the proper people. And clearly, it’s gone way above board, and now the American people are starting to have their voice. Twenty-five percent of the entire prison population in the world is here in the United States of America.”

Meeks said Reps. Danny Davis (D-Ill.) and Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) already held a meeting in Chicago to discuss sentencing reform.

“They are looking to take that from city to city so that we can address those issues and work with the attorney general to make sure that the criminal, the real criminal goes behind bars, but those that, you know, just innocent and have been in there for a long period of time for nonviolent drug offenses, they should not be there,” he said.

Bridget Johnson is a career journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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Top Rated Comments   
Wow. You do know there is a pecking order in the criminal world? Only the dumb criminals go to jail. The smarts go to congress.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Maybe America is becoming less competitive because all the single-parent mothers are unable to discipline their male children. Maybe Meeks should be talking to the black community directly to convince the fathers to stay with the mothers. But no, that would take too much work to do. It's easier to claim that we're going downhill because the system is evil and racist.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (13)
All Comments   (13)
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Are we still incarcerating drug users? Or are these all dealers? Does anyone have good numbers on the percentage of the prison population in there for marijuana crimes? Since we seem to have quite a few people out on the street who should be in jail, it seems credible that the system is malfunctioning in the opposite way also.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
As you know, here in California we going to be releasing 10,000 prisoners because the prisons are too full. Too full. So, I'm sure these misunderstood miscreants will be signing up for college. What? They didn't graduate high school. Well that really poses a problem then. At least now we know where they are getting the Obamacare 'navigators'. Someone help us. Please.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
You are taking it too pure, Meeks. Switch to a different dealer.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
He may have a point about mandatory sentencing, but his rationale is pretty stupid. If those people sitting in prison had wanted "tech jobs," they would have stayed in school and not committed crimes - no, not even little, harmless teenage ones. They knew the situation, they knew the rules, and they chose to do what they did. Karma is a mutha.

Don't tell us "everyone makes mistakes." I've never made a mistake that landed me in jail. Neither has anyone I'm close to. Especially none of the dozens of black people I work with every day. To me, they give the lie to Meeks' formulation.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm thinking the same thing: when the schooling was free and there were no limits on what they could do or be, they opted out. Went for the cash money gansta lifestyle.
Now that they are in prison, they want "high tech" jobs? The only 'tech' they care about is the one called TEC-9 that comes with a 20 round clip.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Wow. You do know there is a pecking order in the criminal world? Only the dumb criminals go to jail. The smarts go to congress.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Maybe America is becoming less competitive because all the single-parent mothers are unable to discipline their male children. Maybe Meeks should be talking to the black community directly to convince the fathers to stay with the mothers. But no, that would take too much work to do. It's easier to claim that we're going downhill because the system is evil and racist.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Gregory Meeks, rocket scientist, 2004, about 1 minute in...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yga7TlsA-1A

So many scandals, so little time...

http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2010/04/congressman_gre.php

35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, you've got to admit, successful drug pushers posess a certain entrapreneurial facility, at least until thy end up in prison.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is the face of naked racism. It is a land of delusion and unreality.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Gregory Meeks ? One of the prime excuse makers/defenders of Fannie and Freddie and, as such, a prime mover in the financial meltdown ?

Some other more personal scandal taints the name Gregory Meeks , I can't recall which at the moment. So many scandals, so little time.

Maybe we should put Gregory Meeks behind bars.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
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