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War on Drugs and Incarceration

PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2014 4:45 am
by KeithE
War on Drug History - Wiki

Largely Negative View of War on Drugs History

The War on Drugs and longer sentencing laws are usually cited as the reason our incarceration rate has climbed so rapidly.

Today, among OECD countries, the US incarceration rate stands out.

Russia and South Africa also high.

Lotta good information/links in this article: 15 Facts about the Prison Industrial Complex

Plenty of corporations are profiting with the privatization of prisons.
With 2.3 Million People Incarcerated in the US, Prisons Are Big Business

From the above link:
No phenomenon is more emblematic of prison profiteering than the rise of private prisons. By now it is perhaps the most familiar and troubling trend for many progressives, and with good reason: the financial incentives involved are obvious and egregious. “It’s like the hotel industry,” says Alex Friedmann, an editor at Prison Legal News, who himself was once incarcerated at a private prison. “The hotel industry wants to keep their beds full as much as possible, because it means more revenue. Same thing for the private prison companies.” Two separate videos look at the two major private prison companies, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the country’s largest operator of private prisons, and GEO Group. Both companies made headlines in September upon the release of a report by In the Public Interest that scrutinized the “occupancy requirements” commonly found in private prison contracts. Last year, CCA sent letters to forty-eight governors, offering to take their prison systems off state hands in exchange for a guarantee that their states would keep their facilities up to ninety percent full—regardless of crime rates.

In addition to its lobbying for harsh sentencing—in particular when it comes to immigration enforcement, which funnels a growing number of people into its facilities—CCA and Geo Group have become notorious for providing substandard and sometimes harrowing living conditions to their prisoners.

“It was disgusting,” says former ACLU attorney Will Harrell, about one GEO Group facility he inspected in Coke County, Texas. “There was an infestation of insects everywhere you looked, including the kitchen. Insects in the food. It was horrible.” Another interview subject, Donald Weeks, who spent ten months locked up at GEO-run East Mississippi Correctional Facility, described intolerable sewage problems. “The stench was so bad in there, I couldn’t eat anymore.”

At the heart of the problem is an utter lack of transparency. Facilities run by private prison corporations are not subjected to the same oversight as state and federal prisons. As Alex Friedmann has pointed out, “the private prison industry operates in secrecy while being funded almost entirely with public taxpayer money.”

Is this situation “working well” or is there need of reform (if so, what do you suggest)?

Personally I would
1) decriminalize marijuana (maybe some other drugs), keeping DUI of marijuana against the law
2) end private industry owning prisons
3) practice Restorative Justice leading hopefully for lower sentencing periods
4) better anti-drug programs in prisons (both more efforts at keeping drugs out and more anti-drug classes)

Re: War on Drugs and Incarceration

PostPosted: Sat Jul 26, 2014 6:40 am
by Dave Roberts
This is one of the shames of our country. We have agreed to privatizing prisons and then states have signed contracts with the private groups to keep their facilities at 90% capacity. That puts pressure on law enforcement and judges to continue to round up and lock up the minor drug sellers rather than concentrating on getting to those who are at the top. I have a friend in law enforcement who says he could round up minor dealers every night only to have someone else take their place the next day. If we don't concentrate on breaking the back of the drug trade from the top, we will continue to pay ridiculous amounts to keep the minor players in jail. We need some high level arrests, not a continuing dragnet for the perimeter of the pool.

Re: War on Drugs and Incarceration

PostPosted: Sat Jul 26, 2014 6:57 am
by Sandy
From what I've read, imprisonment doesn't stop the drug use. Drugs get into prisons fairly easily, perhaps even more so than outside. It was a huge problem in South Texas, around the prison farms where prisoners were out in fields during the day. The drug dealers would bury the packages in the field at night and mark them for their dealers inside to pick up and sell inside.

My biggest fear is that the kind of war over turf that has paralyzed cities in Mexico like Juarez will spread to the US, which is where the money is coming from after all.

Re: War on Drugs and Incarceration

PostPosted: Sat Jul 26, 2014 7:16 am
by KeithE
Amens to both Dave and Sandy.

Re: War on Drugs and Incarceration

PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2014 5:19 pm
by James
I read some years ago {can't give a source} that in the last year narcotics were legal, 3% of the US population were addicts. Today's addiction rate is about 3%. Lets decriminalize all drugs and save everyone a lot of grief.