America Paying a Cost To Continue War on Drugs

America Paying a Cost To Continue War on Drugs
Posted by CN Staff on January 22, 2008 at 19:22:51 PT
By Nausheen Shaikh, The Daily Northwestern 
Source: Daily Illini
USA -- The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world. Statistics collected by the Bureau of Justice showed that more than 2.25 million people were in American prisons or jails in 2006. To illustrate the contrast with other nations, consider that 751 out of every 100,000 US residents are incarcerated while 148 out of every 100,000 are incarcerated in the UK.
These statistics suggest that either a) America breeds immorality, b) every other country in the world is too soft on crime, or c) we need to seriously reconsider who we are putting behind bars. To me, the last option makes the most sense.Although there are many unnecessary arrests in the U.S., the societal costs of arresting drug offenders in particular often outweigh the benefits.In 2006, 249,000 state prisoners and 53 percent of federal inmates were serving time for drug charges, mainly trafficking and possession.Good intentions drive these arrests. Drug users threaten society through drug-related crimes and the deterioration of themselves and the youth that they influence. The purpose of drug-related incarceration is to reduce the use and accessibility of drugs and their effects, but at what costs?Imprisonment is incapacitating, even after release. The released are faced with criminal reputations and records, jeopardized relationships and legal fees. For many offenders, drugs serve as an escape from uncontrollable circumstances, such as poverty and a lack of opportunity. Due to a lack of education and money, convicted drug-offenders are less able to avoid punishment. They, however, choose to break the law, so why should we care?Arresting drug offenders obstructs, rather than promotes, societal well-being. We not only waste away the potential contribution that the hundreds of thousand of inmates could make to society, but by labeling them with a criminal record, we continue to handicap our human capital even after release.Furthermore, we deepen the bitterness and hopelessness of the criminals and the families that they had left behind. Such sentiments hold high potential for hurting our communities. Also, the monetary cost to the government is significant. According to the American Corrections Association, the average daily cost per state prison inmate per day in the U.S. is $67.55. That means that the incarceration of drug offenders in state prisons cost us more than $16 million in 2006.The question of when incarceration is appropriate for drug offenders should be determined by its effectiveness in helping society. While the arrest of those who run drug organizations cuts off several gateways to drugs, and thus cleans up the nation, imprisoning those charged with possession and low-end dealing is hardly effective. Drug dealers are simply replaced, and despite a significant increase in the number of drug offenders in prisons over the past several years, reports of drug use have hardly swayed. Imprisoning these individuals is not only ineffective but self-destructive. We must find a more appropriate punishment.Complete Title: America Paying a Real Cost To Continue The War on DrugsSource: Daily Illini, The (IL Edu)Author: Nausheen Shaikh, The Daily Northwestern (Northwestern U.) Published: January 22, 2008Copyright: 2008 Illini Media CoContact: opinions dailyillini.comWebsite: http://www.dailyillini.comCannabisNews Justice Archives
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Comment #11 posted by rchandar on January 24, 2008 at 10:48:50 PT:
the argument against marijuana legalization is circuitous, but it always has prevented reform. The United Nations appears to be the sole arbiter for drug policy. They state, more or less, that "we already allow tobacco and alcohol, and have enough problems with those." Therefore, because we allow the unrestricted use of two harmful drugs, we're not willing to consider any others.Pretty much every government that has confronted MJ legalization have had to back out because of "international treaties" which were signed in a moment of pure blindness 47 years ago. that--and not the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937--was Anslinger's greatest "contribution" to drugs policy. And to withdraw cannabis from the list of banned drugs would require a majority vote in the General Assembly, and no vetos from the permanent members--the US, the UK, France, China, and Russia--all of whom favor draconian policies.Now, the only true beacon of hope comes from the EU, which appears to be more determined to write their own legal policy. A sizable minority of MEPs favor withdrawal from the 1961 Singel Convention treaty which prohibits cannabis. I believe that in time this may become a majority vote, and we could possibly change the law for at least some countries.--rchandar
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Comment #10 posted by fatone on January 24, 2008 at 05:44:31 PT:
power plants
As well, due to prohibition, people grow indoors to keep their crops safe from the evil state authorities. The wattage of indoor grows, when summed up nationwide, is surely the electricity of a whole nuclear power station. When they grow common sense and end failed prohibition, people will be able to grow under sunlight in greenhouses without electric lights, and the savings will be a power station's worth.But the cost of medical monopoly on pain killers is that people can't afford medicalized pharma - and resort to street pharma (more wisely indeed). Prohibition cost us Heath ledger who died from taking sleeping pills entirely unnecessary had he been able to imbibe in peace.The costs are so innumerable, its profound; and consider the souls of those who wage this evil war against people who imbibe plants from god's green earth (those same plants on which the constitution is printed) - the cost is the loss of that constitution (by the 9th amendment) - and the cost of irrational christian zionazi's who pass judgement with 10,000 logs in their own eyes.
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Comment #9 posted by Hope on January 23, 2008 at 13:48:39 PT
I think you are right. Desensitized consciences translate to the "seared over" consciences problem mentioned in scriptures.Seared over. Hardened. No sensitivity. Nothing natural or good about a conscience that doesn't work anymore. I'm sure violent entertainment has a lot to do with it. Obviously, many people, including, very, very muchly so, the so called "good guys", as they like to call themselves, don't have a normal conscience anymore. It's hardened. It's seared over. In their self-righteousness, cruelty, or whatever the hell it is, they are blind to the horror and injustice. And they are scary... because they are truly bad and dangerous and they seemingly are untouchable by goodness, or wisdom, or understanding of any kind, or even sanity.It is scary that about ninety nine percent of our leaders, reps, and authorities are afflicted with this serious conscience deficit. This War on Drugs is rotten and filthy to the core. Surely it will fall in on itself in it's putridness and rottenness and foulness, soon. Trouble is... it's still destroying and will continue to destroy so many lives, futures, hopes, and dreams until that collapse on it's putrid self happens.What insane mind can accept that it's ok to shoot and kill people, even children and babies, and bust into people's homes the way they do, to keep evidence for drug prosecution, if there even is any in the first place, from being flushed? It's just extraordinary that there are so few of us that care.Saving lives? Protecting anyone? How can anyone keep believing that lie... unless there is really something bad wrong with their conscience? 
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Comment #8 posted by dongenero on January 23, 2008 at 12:45:40 PT
I wonder comes a cycnical rant
It seems like we as a culture have become desensitized to the violence.People do not seem to bat an eye at this kind of thing; American citizens gunned down by government run paramilitary police. After you hear of scores of people blown up, killed and maimed in Iraq every day. It's acted out in movies, television shows and video games much to everyone's enjoyment. I think people eventually tend to just tune it out. We've become a culture of violence. It's constantly around us. People do not seem to even notice. Death destruction, mothers viciously gunned downed with babes in their arms. Never mind, it's just the War on Drugs.It goes right along with the Iraq War, the War on Terrorism. Every-blinkin-thing is a "War". Every policy requires a Czar....gee, what an appropriate reference to totalitarian government.I often think our government is going the way of economy; down the tubes. No one, anywhere in the world, including the U.S., will have trust or confidence in what used to be the greatest country in the world. US citizens always have sense of being superior, the greatest. Well, that was yesterday. Being great is not a given, it's based on ones actions.All the while, the sheep are sleeping. 
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Comment #7 posted by runruff on January 23, 2008 at 11:01:04 PT:
the land of the pee!
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Comment #6 posted by Hope on January 23, 2008 at 10:43:41 PT
Vicious Nanny State
Government shouldn't take over all our choices for us. They just shouldn't... because it's not right.It feels more like the government owns us... like slaves or chattel, than just a big, cruel, and vicious nanny, even.Poking, prodding, herding us into being "productive" according to their standards. Like slaves. Like they own us. We have to produce money for them to squander on wrong things like this deadly prohibition. I'm so angry about it all... but all I can think to say is "Stop it! Stop it! Stop it!"I guess it can only be stopped when enough lawsuits pile up against the government for wrongful injury, imprisonment, and deaths.I keep thinking about the babies and children they've injured, harmed, and killed with their vicious prohibition.It's so stupid, wrong, and wasteful to run a government like ours is being run. These prohibitions aren't helping anyone but to fill the pockets of the greedy. The prohibitions, especially of cannabis, are harming us all.It's becoming more and more obvious everyday that cannabis is more like to be good for you and beneficial for mankind. It's actually protective to our health and minds... and it's prohibited. It's about money and power for the prohibitionists. Even if they have to kill or wound just one more child or a hundred, they will love and treasure and protect their deadly, disastrous prohibition.I keep thinking about that baby they shot and injured so badly... and killed the mother that was holding him in her arms in front of her other children. That baby is hurting, physically and mentally today... because they were protecting someone... who.... from making a choice they didn't want them to make.Killing their mother before their eyes? That's going to help them understand how "right" and "good" the government is? They won't ever dare use a drug.... except of course the legal ones... now, will they? After all, they've seen what can happen. The government taught them a BIG lesson.Oh, God. (That's not an expletive... but a prayer.)
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Comment #5 posted by tintala on January 23, 2008 at 09:00:33 PT:
WE can't forget that alcohol was illegal 75 years 
Ago, now, it's one of the most dangerous, addictive, violent substances in the world! Not to mention drinking and driving. Oh but wait, it must be good and ok if you can go to any store on the corner and buy as muchof teh stuff as you want and then drive home! Oh and don't forget how healthy tobacco is, the NEW healthe food! Which kills hundreds of thousands of ppl a year.Just 25 years ago there were advertisements for cigarettes on tv. But, if you can get that stuff anywhere , then it must be good for you!
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Comment #4 posted by rchandar on January 23, 2008 at 08:34:15 PT:
Hmmm. Yes, and when you look at history, it seems that EVERY major cultural group included narcotic drugs as part of their spiritual, ritual, and intellectual traditions--EXCEPT European Protestants. (The irony of this is: with the exception of the Netherlands, said Protestant country in Europe, in ALL countries of the world cannabis is fully illegal).--rchandar
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Comment #3 posted by Storm Crow on January 23, 2008 at 05:51:05 PT
The "land of the free" has the highest incarceration rates in the world. Does anyone else find this really weird and ironic?
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Comment #2 posted by Yanxor on January 22, 2008 at 20:19:19 PT
Oh, and one more thing
Think of the children!What kind of message would we send to our children if we didn't incarcerate people at such high rates?They might think the government is unwilling to send them to jail, and would surely turn to heroin.
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Comment #1 posted by yanxor on January 22, 2008 at 20:18:05 PT
but but
These people are using drugs! They are doing Satan's will, day in and day out...this is exactly why we have the death penalty.
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