December 26, 2013

The Dec. 21 editorial “A golden opportunity” rightly called on the United States to pressure Russia over human rights violations. Another legitimate object of such pressure would be the United States, which has the highest incarceration rate in the world.

A large percentage of people are incarcerated for nonviolent drug infractions, in many cases for violating laws prohibiting possession or use of marijuana. Convictions often require mandatory minimum sentences. Such laws should have been amended to delete mandatory minimum sentences decades ago.

Michael Berla, Columbia