A blog by Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer Brian Tannebaum. Commenting on criminal law issues of local and national interest.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Anthony's Dreaming...

Anthony Lorenzo is out of prison, and you all are not making him feel very welcome. He was angry enough to pen a well written editorial to the Miami Herald that can be read here (at least for a while until the link expires)

Anthony was released from prison after serving about 2 and 1/2 years for trafficking in cocaine.

He says he can't get a license to work in many fields, from massage therapy to being a lawyer to cutting hair.

He says that the Department of Corrections mission should change from punishment to rehabilitation, "making it a priority." He says "job training, education and economic opportunity are the biggest reducers of recidivism statistically. Yet Florida makes none of these parameters a priority in our prisons."

Anthony, please stop confusing people with the facts. No one wants to hear that if people in jail were better treated and educated, they would not commit future crimes, saving the taxpayers millions of dollars. Just stop saying things like that.

He "realizes that people think those who commit crimes, even nonviolent victimless crimes, deserve to be punished for our indiscretions. But they should think about this, Anthony says: 'I was treated like an animal for 2 ½ years; I worked at gunpoint on a chain gang because authorities refused to send me to work release. I was sent home with only $100 cash. I'm not allowed to work, am denied financial aid to go to college and may not even be able to get licensed in the field that I have gone to school to learn -- acupuncture.'"

"Is it any wonder that ex-convicts end up back in prison," he asks?
Funny, I ask the same question also.

"Working at a dead-end, minimum wage job is not a life he says. "Even Pizza Hut said that it couldn't promote me, no matter how great an employee I was."

I'm sorry about this Anthony, but our society has no compassion for you, even though you've done your time and are looking to better yourself. We want you to think about this indiscretion, this crime you've committed, for the rest of your life. None of us out here have ever made any mistakes, we are perfect.

We want you to suffer everyday and continue to pay this un-owed debt to society. Most people could care less about what you do and you're lack of success in trying to better yourself. They are saying "you should have thought of that before you dealt cocaine." They are wondering why you are out of prison.

They are angry when I continue to ask "you know, most people who go to jail, get out, so what are we to do with them while they're in to make them better citizens?

They hate that, and they hate you, Anthony.