Drug Facts

An Extract


In the U.S. today, perhaps one-third of murders are related to contract enforcement and competition over dealing territory [16].

About 1.2 million suspected drug offenders are arrested each year in the U.S., most of them for simple possession or petty sale [18]. Currently in the U.S., police spend one-half their time on drug- related crimes. The court system is on the verge of collapse because of the proliferation of drug cases, which-because they are criminal cases-have priority over civil cases. Six out of ten federal inmates are in prison on drug charges. Probably another two of the ten are there on prohibition- related offenses. There is a crisis in prison crowding (forty states are under court order to reduce overcrowding), with the result that violent criminals--including child molesters, multiple rapists, and kidnappers--are often released early. This is reinforced by mandatory sentencing laws. Consensual drug offenses are not only treated as the moral equivalent of murder, rape, or kidnapping: they are given harsher punishment. Youths are sent to prison for life for selling drugs, while murderers were eligible for early parole for good behavior [19]. As one example, Florida punishes "simple rape" by a maximum prison term of 15 years, second-degree murder with no mandatory minimum and a maximum of life in prison , first degree murder (where the death penalty is not imposed) with a mandatory minimum penalty of 25 years, after which one is eligible for parole, but trafficking in cocaine is punished with life imprisonment "without the possibility of parole."

[16] Steven B. Duke and Albert C. Gross, America's Longest War: Rethinking Our Tragic Crusade Against Drugs, Putnam, New York, 1993.

[17] Examples may be found in Steven Wisotsky, Beyond the War on Drugs, Prometheus Books, Buffalo, New York, 1990.

[18] John Powell and Ellen Hershenov, "Hostage to the Drug War: The National Purse, The Constitution, and the Black Community," University of California at Davis Law Review, 24, 1991.

[19] David B. Kopel, "Prison Blues: How America's Foolish Sentencing Policies Endanger Public Safety," Policy Analysis No. 208, Cato Institute, Washington, D.C., May 17, 1994.



* * * Back to the Home Page of John "Birdman" Bryant, the World's Most Controversial Author * * *