It’s been a very difficult day.
My brother was just sentenced to 9 years in prison. If he stays on good behavior and participates in lots of programs and keeps his nose clean he will be up for parole in 3 years. He must serve a minimum of 3 years minus the 78 days already served in jail. If he rocks the boat, he will serve the maximum of 9 years.
The guy before him who had the same lawyer as my brother and who was also facing time for a shooting was a gang banger who they actually have on video firing an entire clip into a bar during a gang shooting. He went to rehab, got off drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes, and started attending school getting all A grades. His sentencing got stretched out for 18 months which is what the attorney tried to convince my brother to do. The judge gave this guy no prison time and probation with the stipulation that he stays clean from all drugs and alcohol, and stays clear of other gang members.
My brother fired only 1 shot but showed up to his sentencing under the influence of meth, meaning he wasn’t “consistently cooperative” with pre-trial services. My ma did address the court and the judge said it was very passionate but he went on to speak about what he has learned about “men on meth carrying guns” and “the progression of substance abuse.” First, it starts with using; then to possessing and selling drugs to make money to buy more drugs; then to breaking into people’s homes to get more money or robbing stores and strong arming other dope dealers for money; and then finally, to carrying guns with drugs, shootings and killings.
The judge felt that my brother was at the top of this cycle and needed detoxification forced on him via prison time which is often followed by a long period of self reflection and chilling out with older age. In some cases, this kind of long-term “prison sobriety” combined with older age can bring with it a heightened sense of mortality where the realization of possibly dying in prison can inspire recovery.
Realistically though, most guys just end up institutionalized.