Mandatory-minimum sentencing laws are in HBO host John Oliver’s cross-hairs.
On Sunday’s episode of “Last Week Tonight,” Oliver went off on drug laws from the 1980s and early 1990s that have resulted in prisons overcrowded with inmates serving decades-long sentences for trafficking or selling fairly small amounts of drugs.
Oliver pointed out that some criminals convicted of marijuana trafficking were serving longer sentences than aeroplane hijackers, terrorists, and child molesters.
“So wait. If my maths is right here, this low-level pot dealer received the exact same sentence as would an aeroplane-hijacking, child-rapist terrorist, a person so evil I legitimately don’t know if one ever existed,” Oliver said.
The comedian also noted that even though certain states had lowered their sentences for non-violent drug crimes, many convicted before the reforms were enacted were still serving their original, longer sentences.
“Just think about how annoyed you get when people who get seated after you at a restaurant get served and leave before you. Only in this case, the food is prison food, the restaurant is prison, and dinner takes 55 f — years,” Oliver said.
Earlier this month, President Barack Obama announced commuted sentences for 46 prisoners convicted of non-violent, drug-related crimes. The commutations were part of the president’s push for criminal-justice and sentencing reform that would ease penalties for non-violent drug offenders.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.