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To the men and women who drafted our federal drug laws in 1986, this might come as a surprise. Robert Byrd, cosponsor of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, the reason to attach five- and ten-year mandatory sentences to drug trafficking was to punish “the kingpins—the masterminds who are really running these operations”, and the mid-level dealers. Today, almost everyone convicted of a federal drug crime is convicted of “drug trafficking”, which more often than not results in at least a five- or ten-year mandatory prison sentence.
"Our results clearly showed that the strongest predictor of conspiracy belief was a constellation of personality characteristics collectively referred to as 'schizotypy,' Hart said.
The trait borrows its name from schizophrenia, but it does not imply a clinical diagnosis.
Participants were asked a series of questions related to their personality traits, partisan bent and demographic background.
They were also asked whether they agreed with generic conspiratorial statements, such as: "The power held by heads of state is second to that of small unknown groups who really control world politics," and "Groups of scientists manipulate, fabricate or suppress evidence in order to deceive the public." Previous research has shown that people gravitate toward conspiracy theories that affirm or validate their political view: Republicans are vastly more likely than Democrats to believe the Obama "birther" theory or that climate change is a hoax.
We cannot pretend that heavy sentences for women like Kemba Smith and men like Jamel Dossie are the fluke mistakes of overbroad laws.
We must admit that our sentencing of minor players in the drug trade to prison terms meant for the leaders of large drug organizations—as a common occurrence, not as an exception.
Hart and Graether wanted to build on this research by testing how much each of several previously identified traits could explain generic conspiracy beliefs.
By examining multiple traits simultaneously, the pair could determine which ones were most important.
“Never could I have imagined,” he writes in a recent piece in , “that…after nineteen years [as a federal district court judge], I would have sent 1,092 of my fellow citizens to federal prison for mandatory minimum sentences ranging from sixty months to life without the possibility of release.
The majority of these women, men and young adults are nonviolent drug addicts.” What about the kingpins? The numbers can’t convey the absurd tragedy of it all. They did not sell or directly distribute meth; there were no hoards of cash, guns or countersurveillance equipment.