Monday, August 12, 2013
Earlier in my career I ran a drug and alcohol treatment program in a county jail. Most of the folks that I came across there, in my opinion, didn’t seem to belong in the correctional setting – most of them were nonviolent users and those who sold drugs only did so to support their habit. With this in mind, I welcome the end of the clinically misguided war on drugs:
CNN: “Attorney General Eric Holder will announce Monday that the Justice Department will no longer pursue mandatory minimum sentences for “certain low-level, nonviolent drug offenders.”
In a speech at the annual meeting of the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates in San Francisco, he will make the case that the United States “cannot simply prosecute or incarcerate our way to becoming a safer nation.”
Holder set to announce that “drug offenders who have no ties to large-scale organizations, gangs, or cartels will no longer be charged with offenses that impose draconian mandatory minimum sentences.”
They now “will be charged with offenses for which the accompanying sentences are better suited to their individual conduct, rather than excessive prison terms more appropriate for violent criminals or drug kingpins.
Lessening the use of mandatory minimums — sentences that require a mandatory, “one-size-fits-all” punishment for those convicted of federal and state crimes — could mark the end of the tough-on-crime era, which began with strict anti-drug laws in the 1970s and accelerated with mandatory minimum prison sentences and so-called three-strikes laws.”
A peace protest cliche is “Make Love, not War!” This clinician’s protest is: “Fund Treatment, not War on Drugs!”