July 6, 2007
Libertarian Party of Florida
5901 Pendragon Lane
Ft. Myers, Florida 33912
Contact: Karl Dickey, Chairman
LIBERTARIAN PARTY CHALLENGES BUSH TO FOCUS ON NONVIOLENT OFFENDERS WITH
The president's commutation of Scooter Libby's sentence raises the question of whether the standard should be applied to all Americans sentenced for nonviolent crimes. Washington, DC, July 6, 2007 - National Libertarian Party chairman William Redpath is challenging President Bush to address the issue of prison time for nonviolent consensual crime offenders after saving Lewis "Scooter" Libby from serving 30 months in prison. "After freeing Scooter Libby because of what he calls too strong of a sentence, we challenge President Bush to do the same for same for the thousands of Americans currently in prison for other nonviolent victimless offenses," Redpath said upon theannouncement ofLibby's sentence commutation. "These Americans are forced to serve a sentence for offenses far less serious than those committed by Libby." Bush stated too harsh of a punishment as one of the reasons he commutatedLibby's sentence.
Nonviolent offenses are generally classified as those crimes that lacktheuse, or attempted use, of violence. These crimes are often referred to as "victimless crimes." The Libertarian Party believes jailing nonviolent offenders is a waste of government resources, which could be used in turn for what the party calls "real crime." "Currently in the United States, it is estimated that one out of 15 people will spend time in jail at some point in his life," Redpath continued, citing findings from a US Department of Justice study. "At what pointdo wesay enough is enough, and something needs to change?" The average sentence for a nonviolent offender is over 50 months in prison. According to a report released by the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, the American prison system held over one million nonviolent offenders by the end of 1998-the first time ever in American history. Thesame report found that prison costs of incarcerating the 1.2 million nonviolent offenders totaled $24 billion dollars for that year. "If President Bush feels that Libby's punishment is too severe for the crime, then why does our judicial system still require prison for some nonviolent crimes where no victim exists?" Redpath continued. "It is a grotesque waste of scant judicial resources." The platform for the Libertarian Party calls for the immediate reform of thejudicial system's mandatory sentencing policy, to both reduce a skyrocketing prison population and ensure violent offenders are not prematurely released from jail. It also calls for a repeal of statutes that "work against the protection of the rights and freedom of American citizens," and "particularly laws which create a crime where no victim exists." "In the supposed 'Land of the Free,' we have the highest prison populationin the world," Redpath said. "The Libertarian Party believes this is a serious problem that demands serious attention." The Libertarian Party is America's third largest political party. It was founded in 1971 as an alternative to the two main political parties. The Florida affiliate is the Libertarian Party of Florida. You can find more information on the Libertarian Party of Florida by visiting www.lpf.org, or by emailing the Libertarian Party of Florida chairman, Karl Dickey, at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Libertarian Party of Florida proudly stands for smaller government, lower taxes and more freedom.