Please Mr President

Mad Men star Jon Hamm is one of more than 175 American entertainment figures, civil rights leaders, business leaders, academics and others who have signed an open letter to the US administration urging it to implement more alternatives to incarceration for non-violent drug offences. Among the policy recommendations are measures to reduce the sentences of those jailed for crack-related crimes, to make them ‘more consistent with the magnitude of the offence’. Offences related to crack dealing, which has been largely confined to America’s black community, have historically attracted far more severe punishments than comparable crimes involving powder cocaine, and one in nine black children in the US now has an incarcerated parent, compared to one in 57 white children.

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