Sentencing reform is a very real issue for this country. And while changes to sentencing are being discussed on the federal level, relatively little is being done at the individual state levels. The reforms being made at the federal level will do nothing for those incarcerated by the state. One such case is the case of Lenny Singleton who made the front page of The New York Times. You can read the story here…. http://nyti.ms/29ik8sY
Lenny’s case is possibly one of the worst in the country illustrating sentencing disparity and why The NY Times focused on him. Lenny has served almost 21 years, more time than rapists, child molesters, and murderers, for a series of “grab & dash” robberies to fund his crack addiction, all committed without a gun in a one week period in which he did not physically injure anyone, stealing less than $550, and no one filed as a “victim”. His was a first time felon with a college degree and who had served in our Navy before his addiction to crack cocaine. During his entire time in prison, he has not received a single infraction for anything — very rare for lifers who have no reason to be the best person they can be. He is deserving of a second chance.
Tax payers will pay well over a million dollars to keep Lenny for the rest of his life — for robbing less than $550 in crimes where no one was physically injured and no one filed as a “victim.” That money would be better spent on rehabilitation services, preventative education, or rebuilding infrastructures — on anything other than keeping one man, who didn’t injure anyone, who has been in prison for 21 years, who has a spotless record while incarcerated, in prison for the rest of his life.
Lenny’s chance at a second chance can only be made through a conditional pardon made by the Governor. These are the types of cases that all states need to be examining and addressing.
Please get involved by signing Lenny’s petition at www.justice4lenny.org, share his story, and get your copy of his book, “Love Conquers All” — a book he co-authored to help others headed down the same path. It is time Lenny comes home.