The coroner of St. Tammany Parish who misappropriated thousands of dollars has to serve only two years in jail. As state Rep. Austin Badon points out, a drunk driver going the wrong way on the interstate and killing a woman on her way to work got only seven years. A citizen must really commit a dastardly crime to earn that kind of sentence — like getting caught three times with marijuana in his pocket.

Mind you, not driving under the influence, not even smoking it, just having it in his possession.

To be fair, if it is the second offense he can only be sent up the river for five years. Is it any wonder that Louisiana leads not just the United States but the world in incarceration of our citizens?

Which brings us to a bill by Badon that would reduce these ridiculous sentences. Unlike the bill recently passed by the legislators in Maryland that decriminalizes the possession of a small amount of marijuana, Badon’s bill would simply reduce that 20 years to five. Then along comes the director of the Louisiana Sheriff’s Association to oppose this bill.

Could it be his opposition is because our good sheriffs are in love with the revenues they earn by housing state prisoners?

Never mind the fact that each prisoner costs the people of this state thousands of dollars, not to mention that we may be taking a productive, taxpaying citizen off the street and saddling them with a record that will follow them the rest of their lives.

Perhaps now is the time for our legislators to do what the majority of the people in this state wish by getting rid of these antiquated laws and stop trying to appease the sheriffs’ lobby. Just maybe we could find a better use for these monies, like educating our young people.

Jimmie Jossie

retired programmer analyst