Bradley Jay: ‘Are Too Many Drug Offenders In Jail?’
Attorney General Eric Holder is pushing to scale back sentences for certain drug offenses. Federal prosecutors will be curtailing efforts to hang “mandatory minimum sentences” on large numbers of non-violent drug offenders. There is support for this in both red and blue camps as keeping non-violent criminals locked up is a real financial drain. It is a waste of money that is, in the parlance of my New Hampshire forebears, a “crying shame.”
Opponents of this initiative are concerned that while drug offenders’ actual crimes may be non-violent, the drug business is a violent one and fewer drug-involved criminals on streets would mean less violent crime. Of course, it could be said that the illegality of drugs is ultimately responsible for the violence, rather than drugs themselves, and that full legalization of all drugs would be panacean, reducing both prison populations and drug-related violence.
The crack cocaine epidemic of the eighties was leveraged to gin up support for the ultra costly, self- perpetuating, and futile “war on drugs,” and there is considerable inertia behind a move to extricate ourselves from that drug policy “box” and draw new pragmatic guidelines.
The question is, do you find the net result of opening prison gates and releasing hoards of “druggies” a positive move? Do you agree with the Attorney General’s plan and the premises that underpin it?