Student Asks Rick Santorum About Sending Non-violent Drug Offenders to Prison

Student Asks Rick Santorum About Sending Non-violent Drug Offenders to Prison

On the Thursday before the New Hampshire Primary Election, an intrepid SSDPer posed newly anointed GOP top tier candidate and well known family man, Rick Santorum, with a family oriented question. The student asked whether Santorum would continue the practice of ripping families apart by sending non-violent drug offenders to prison. You can view the exchange here.

Stunned by the intensity of the question (that was so calmly asked by the SSDP member), Santorum initially responded with nervous laughter before giving an answer that does not jive with the facts. Santorum claimed that the federal government does not  send non-violent drug offenders to prison. Fortunately, it did not take a Freedom of Information Act request to unearth official government information to refute his claim, for a mere Google search revealed this report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

According to Table 18 on page 33 of the report, there were 74,276 human beings sentenced to federal prison in 2000 who’s most serious conviction was for a drug crime. By the end of the Bush administration the number spiked up over 20,000 to 95,079 in 2008. That’s nearly a hundred thousand living, breathing human beings that the presidential hopeful apparently does not think is exist.

This coming from a man who once wrote “life is a civil right.” How can we expect that Santorum has any recognition for the civil rights of non-violent drug incarcerees when he has no acknowledgement of the existence of their lives?

Correction: Thank you to Katharine Celentano for spotting an error in my initial interpretation of the chart.

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