New Strategy for War on Drugs 

New Strategy for War on Drugs 
Posted by FoM on February 16, 2000 at 16:44:33 PT
By Brian Dupre, Texan Senior Associate Editor
Source: Daily Texan
As if it wasn't already clear that the U.S. has lost the War on Drugs, yesterday the Justice Policy Institute released a report showing that the U.S. now has 2 million of its citizens incarcerated.It goes without saying that many of those violent convicted criminals deserve to be there. But approximately 1.3 million of those incarcerated are there for nonviolent offenses, about half of them for low-level drug possession and distribution charges.
The costs of keeping such a large prison population are staggering: $40 billion spent yearly to house those 2 million Americans in state and federal prisons and jails. Across the country, the states spend more than twice as much on corrections as they do on welfare programs.Texas' statistics offer a microcosm of the nation's misplaced priorities. The amount our state spent on new university construction in the last 10 years amounts to only 3 percent of what we spent on building new prisons during the same time period.In 1998, Texas spent $99 million on adult substance abuse treatment -- compared to $334 million to incarcerate drug offenders. With disparities like that, it shouldn't surprise anyone that Texas' prison population has jumped from 41,000 to 150,000 in the last six years.Texas' criminal justice policies turn juvenile delinquents into hardened criminals, disproportionately target minorities and waste limited budget resources on law enforcement, prosecution and incarceration aimed at low-level drug offenders.Money spent on substance abuse prevention and treatment pays far greater dividends down the road than the expense of waging a domestic war on one's own citizens. Sadly, this is a lesson elected officials in Texas -- and across the nation -- have yet to learn.Whether or not one favors decriminalization for drug offenses, it is apparent that we must abandon our current national drug strategy simply as a matter of sound public policy.Published: February 16, 2000All Contents of The Daily Texan OnlineCopyright 2000Texas Student PublicationsCannabisNews Articles On The War On Drugs:
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Comment #1 posted by JT420 on February 17, 2000 at 06:57:15 PT:
Glad to see it.
This article is from the daily newspaper of my alma mater, the University of Texas at Austin. Austin is a liberal city, and so is the University, but recently the Daily Texan has taken a conservative approach to drug issues. It is refreshing to see a bit of balance in their coverage. Hook 'em Horns!
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