Monday, May 29, 2006

These Kids Are Awesome


I wish I had the balls to try a prank like this back in high school.

Two students have been charged with giving a high school’s employees marijuana-spiked muffins in a senior prank that sent 18 people to the hospital and triggered an FBI and terrorism investigation.


Classic.

However, this is a bit disturbing.

Walker, an honors student at a nearby Catholic school, and Tellini, 18, were each charged with five felony counts of assault on a public servant, each of which carries penalties of two to 10 years in prison. Because of the presence of illegal drugs, Dallas County prosecutors are seeking an upgrade to the charges that could raise the maximum sentence to 20 years, district attorney spokeswoman Rachel Raya said.


Twenty years? That's a little excessive, no? Especially in light of these facts...

As of 2005, drug offenders accounted for 55 percent of the federal prison population. About 45 percent of them were in prison for possession, not trafficking.

The number of people incarcerated in federal prisons for drug crimes rose from 14,976 in 1986 to 68,360 in 1999.

It costs U.S. taxpayers $3 billion per year to keep drug offenders behind bars in federal prisons.

Drug offenders have accounted for nearly half the meteoric growth in prison populations since 1995.

About half the population of U.S. jails and prisons are nonviolent offenders, more than the combined populations of Wyoming and Alaska.

Forty percent of the more than 1,000 state prisons in the U.S. opened in just the last 25 years. The state of Texas alone has opened an average of 5.7 new prisons each year for the last 21 years. Despite this, about half of federal and state prisons operate over capacity.

Total U.S. inmates numbered 488,000 in 1985, 1.3 million in 2001, and number 2.2 million today.

According to survey data by human rights groups, one in five U.S. prison inmates has been sexually assaulted.

According to federal sentencing guidelines, a man would need to possess 50 times more powder cocaine (prefered by white users) than crack cocaine (prefered by black users) to earn the same prison sentence.

Blacks represent about 12 percent of the U.S. population, but 48 percent of the prison population. They represent just 13 percent of drug users, but 38 percent of those arrested for drug crimes, and 59 percent of those convicted.

When convicted of the same drug felony, blacks are about 50 percent more likely to be sentenced to prison than whites.

A black woman's chances of spending some time in prison over the course of her life (5.6 percent) is about equal that of a white man (5.9 percent). For black men, the odds are nearly one in three (32.2%).

Before Congress passed mandatory minimums for offenses related to crack (but which didn't apply to powder cocaine) in 1986, the average drug-related sentence for blacks was 11 percent higher than for whites. After that law, the disparity jumped to 49 percent.


This isn't any worse than spiking the punch bowl at a dance. A slap on the wrist is all that is deserved. Hell, they should be commended for sharing their stash. That stuff ain't cheap.

My favorite part of the story?

Ian Walker’s mother, Caroline, said she first heard about the tainted muffins while watching the news with her son.

“My first thought when I saw it, because I am a mom, was, ‘My heart goes out to the mother of that stupid kid,”’ she said.


Classic.

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