You might say this is a spin off from the marijuana debate. It could pertain to any victimless "crime" that gets taken off the books. Is it fair that people's lives, their rights as citizens, their ability to find work or access public assistance continues to be censured after what they did is no longer considered a crime?
I would consider that 'harassment' and unfortunately, people are not always forgiving laws work both ways though. Canada has complaint boards where citizens can go or their local Member of Parliament (MP) to get assistance. Not sure what the US has but am sure there must be something of similar workings in place.
Morally, in an ideal society a prisoner serving time for something that is no longer a crime would be released. Legally, it is another story. The action was a crime when the law criminalizing it was in effect. There is such a thing as retroactive law. If the law decriminalizing the action has a retroactive clause, the inmate would be released. If the new law has no such clause, then the action is still considered criminal under the old law. That may seem unfair, but so are other retroactive laws that are frequently passed. These are usually civil laws, like a tax may be made retroactive all the way back to January 1 of that year, which many people consider unfair. Most people would consider it very unjust if a person were arrested in November for something he did in February, but the law making it a crime didn't go into effect until July. If inmates are released for crimes that are no longer criminal, it opens the door for that to happen. However, a good governor of a state could make a blanket pardon for those inmates arrested under the old law that has been decriminalized, and in my opinion should pardon and release them.
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