Sarah Furay, a 19-year-old college student from Texas, has been called “adorable” and “photogenic” after being caught for dealing. Drugs like Ecstasy, weed, and cocaine. Even better, she is the daughter of Bill Furay, a supervisory special agent for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Many are questioning if she would have been set free without the power of her father and if she were black.
After Furay suffered from a seizure, she was taken to the Brazos County Jail, where she managed to smile sweetly for her mugshot, appearing to show no remorse or concern.
Officers on campus had discovered large amounts of cocaine, marijuana, Ecstasy, methamphetamine, and an LSD analogue. Packing materials along with two digital scales were also discovered.
Just twenty-four hours after police had booked Sarah Furay on drug possession and manufacture charges, she posted a $39,000 bail and was safe at home.
After the story broke
Many news outlets were focusing on her face more than her crime. Her picture was even being described as the “happiest mugshot in America” by one news report. Death and Taxes, the new source that broke the original story, had dubbed her the “adorable drug kingpin.” They later apologized for their choice of words.
Rather than focusing on her very serious crime of drug dealing. Also, her criminal activity was treated as “an entrepreneurial approach to avoiding student loan debt.”
The other issue brought up by this story was that of racial discrimination as it relates to the issues our nation is facing in correcting drug offenses and issues.
In 2009, Human Rights Watch found that arrests for charges as it related to drugs was much higher for black adults rather than white adults every year from 1980 to 2007. A significant 2.8 to 5.5 times higher to be exact.
The study also found that black adults were actually not more likely to use or sell drugs even with the arrests rates being what they were. Marijuana arrests were actually the worst as far as racial disparity goes. An ACLU report found blacks to be 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for possession of marijuana than white people.
The racial discrimination and issues do not stop there.
According to drug policy experts, the rate of prosecutors who are pursuing mandatory minimum charges against blacks are at a rate of 2:1 when compared to white people with crimes that parallel. Making it a little more clearly explained as to why 57% of state prisoners and 77% federal inmates are minorities.
Art Way, a senior drug policy manager at The Drug Policy Alliance. They explained that the young Texas girl likely didn’t suffer the consequences because of the color of her skin and who her family is.
“Furay has posted bond that was likely smaller than what most people of color her age would have received, and I’m sure she has private counsel,” he explained to The Daily Beast. “As a result, she escapes pretrial detention and possibly prison through early plea bargaining.”
Furay is still facing at least two first-degree charges and one second-degree charge. If she is convicted, she could be sentenced to a few hundred years in prison. Although that punishment may seem like it doesn’t fit the crime either, we often see many drug arrests being poorly addressed.
Hopefully this story will help bring the attention back to the real issues America is facing when it comes to racial discrimination and the stigma of addiction for those who are wrongfully being incarcerated when they really need treatment for a disease.Tags: DEA, stigma of addiction, War On Drugs