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Monday, June 25, 2012

Incarceration Effects Us All

Maria Lloyd, a blogger with Your Black World, is the daughter of Mario Lloyd.  In 1989, Mario was given 15 life sentences for drug distribution by a judge in Chicago.  It was his first offense and it was non-violent.  His daughter is writing an open letter to the judge describing the pain of growing up without a father, as well as the humiliation of having to tell her friends that her father was incarcerated.  Maria believes that her brother would not have died from gun violence had his father been there to guide him.
Most Americans agree that the War on Drugs was a tremendous failure, leading to Draconian sentences given to hundreds of thousands of men, mostly black.  It has torn families apart for decades, and even the Obama Administration has spoken out against it.  Given that President Obama made campaign promises to reduce sentences of those convicted of drug crimes, should he use the power of the pardon to commute sentences for those who’ve been left to die behind bars?

It took me some time to address you because I didn’t know you were the source of my anger until recently. In case you care to know who I am, I’m Maria Lloyd- the daughter of Mario Lloyd, the non-violent, first-time offender from Chicago. You sentenced him to 15 life sentences without parole on May 11, 1989. He has been incarcerated since I was the age of two. In addition to sending my father to prison, you also sentenced my grandmother, my aunt, and my uncle.  You basically incarcerated my entire family.I’m not one to make excuses for anyone’s poor decisions, including those of my own family. They broke the law, so they deserved punishment. I get it.  I also get the point you were proving in punishing them: Drug trafficking is not tolerated in the state of Illinois. It’s quite obvious you were taking a very personal stand against the War on Drugs. Well, as you can imagine, I have too, but I’m sure our views differ.

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