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Mass. Gov. Patrick blasts ‘warehousing of non-violent drug offenders’

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While signing a sentencing reform bill into law on Tuesday, Massachusetts Gov. Devel Patrick (D) condemned the mass imprisonment of non-violent drug offenders.

“The bill contains important parole reforms for those convicted of the worst crimes; but just as important are the parts of this bill that reform the sentencing laws for non-violent drug offenders,” he said in a statement. “Those changes start to move us away from the expensive and ineffective policy of warehousing non-violent drug offenders towards a more reasonable, smarter supervision and substance abuse program.”

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Thanks to the sentencing reform bill, as many as 600 non-violent drug offenders could be immediately eligible for parole, the governor said. The new law also reduces the length of some mandatory minimum sentences and increases the quantity of drugs needed to trigger certain low-level trafficking offenses.

But it also contains a “three strikes” provision, which eliminates parole eligibility for certain three-time violent offenders. Patrick hoped to amend the provision, giving judges some discretion over parole eligibility, but his amendment was defeated by the state legislature.

“We must also get serious about reforming mandatory minimum sentences,” Patrick said. “Like I said, the warehousing of non-violent drug offenders has proven to be a costly failure. It does nothing to improve public safety and it doesn’t deal with the substance abuse that is the source of the problem. States across the country are moving away from it and we must, too.”

The governor said the state legislature had promised to consider further reforms to mandatory minimum sentencing in their next session.

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“In the coming years, hundreds of drug offenders now in prison will benefit from the new law,” Barbara J. Dougan of Families Against Mandatory Minimums said. “They will be eligible for parole and have the opportunity to prove themselves worthy of returning home sooner. They will also be better able to prepare for their eventual return to the community due to their eligibility for work release and earned good conduct credits through vocational and educational programs.”

[Prison cell via Shutterstock]

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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2020 Election

Trump campaign mocked after unveiling new red hats: ‘Do you have arm bands as well?’

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President Donald Trump's 2016 "Make America Great Again" hats have been replaced with new "Keep America Great" hats.

Trump re-election campaign manager Brad Parscale modeled one of the hats on Twitter.

Here is some of what people were saying:

https://twitter.com/LazarusLeBaron/status/1165430924093165568

Here I made an arm band design for you pic.twitter.com/inTyqVi2wo

— Christopher Goodwin (@LazarusLeBaron) August 25, 2019

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‘This will not end well’: Far-right extremism expert warns of Trump’s intensifying authoritarianism

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An expert on the far-right in America warned of President Donald Trump's "genuinely dangerous levels" of authoritarianism on Saturday.

Author David Neiwert posted a long Twitter thread on the commander-in-chief's "Social Dominance Orientation" -- and warned it will not end well.

Neiwert is the author of the 2017 book Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump.

Here is the thread he posted:

https://twitter.com/DavidNeiwert/status/1165428067138846720

https://twitter.com/DavidNeiwert/status/1165428524808724480

https://twitter.com/DavidNeiwert/status/1165429018486702081

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Ilhan Omar trolls GOP lawmakers ‘losing their minds’ over sharing the House floor with three Muslim Democrats

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One of the first Muslim women elected to Congress trolled her GOP colleagues for "losing their minds" over the existence of three Muslims in the House of Representatives.

The three Muslims in Congress are Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Rep. André Carson (D-IN), with Omar and Tlaib being the first to Muslim women in the body

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) worried about the "growing influence" during an appearance on a local radio station.

Intercept columnist Mehdi Hasan posted a link to the interview on Twitter, calling it "open bigotry."

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