Should five non-violent offenders die behind bars for a crime Americans increasingly believe should not even be a crime?
Right now, five adults await death in prison for non-violent,
marijuana-related crimes. Their names are John Knock, Paul Free, Larry
Duke, William Dekle, and Charles “Fred” Cundiff. They are all more than
60 years old; they have all spent at least 15 years locked up for
selling pot; and they are all what one might call model prisoners,
serving life without parole. As time wrinkles their skin and weakens
their bodies, Michael Kennedy of the Trans High Corporation has filed a legal petition
with the federal government seeking their clemency. Otherwise they will
die behind bars for selling a drug 40% of American adults have admitted
to using, 50% of Americans want legal, and two states have already
legalized for adult use. Since these men were convicted of these crimes
many years ago, public opinion and policy related to marijuana have
shifted greatly. Should these five non-violent senior-citizen offenders
die behind bars for a crime Americans increasingly believe should not
even be a crime?