“But the Legislation Doesn’t Go Far Enough”: It’s Time to Check Our Unincarcerated Privilege in the Conversation About Sentencing Reform

Tyrie Bell was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison. His crime: He sold 82 grams of crack to an informant. Tyrie has been locked away for 17 years. It is not simply the shockingly harsh sentence that makes Tyrie a compelling argument for sentencing reform. It is the disparity between him and the violent undercover informant who netted him that demands our attention. It is also the story of Tyrie’s teen drug addiction, homelessness, and earnest prison rehabilitation that forces our nation to confront its own addiction to incarceration.

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I write. Hard. With clenched fists. An arrested heart. I write legal briefs, musings and published articles. I have cut prison concrete with my keyboard – while crying. My writings are an overdue invoice to America and myself.

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