No wonder the prison is overcrowded

Dear Editor,

After reading the letter by Rajendra Bissessar (‘Michael Carrington’s marijuana bill should be looked at again’ SN, March 20), it made me feel good to see that there are others who are seriously concerned about the ludicrous things going on within the scheme of things. The letter is an appeal to those responsible for our laws, to revisit the outrageous and ridiculous fines and imprisonment imposed on our young people for being in possession of a negligible amount of marijuana; in some cases it is a ‘joint’, the equivalent of a cigarette. I’m in total agreement with Mr Bissessar. I find many of these charges and penalties highly repugnant, petty and a waste of valuable time and money, when there is a preponderance of more serious and critically pressing matters that need urgent attention.

I have written on these kinds of situation about five times or more.  The letter in question tells of a Charlestown youth, a young woman, sentenced to prison for two years for being in possession of 4ozs of marijuana. No wonder the prison is overcrowded. As Mr Bissessar rightly questions: “What are we doing to our youths?

What would happen to this young woman when she gets out of prison? She did not steal. She did not kill or wound someone; she was not selling cocaine.

She was selling something that so many people in this country use, from doctors to lawyers to bums. No pain and suffering is inflicted on the person, the family or society, as does alcohol which is consumed like it is going out of style.” Who is to maintain children when one is incarcerated?

There is no programme or anything when one is out of prison to ensure a stable life.

Yours faithfully,

Frank Fyffe

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