How do drugs tie in to the Prison Industrial Complex?
By Charles and Randy Fisher (@HHSYC)
We are 5% of the world’s population but are responsible for 25% of the world’s prison population. America is the world’s biggest client consuming 25% of the world’s illegal drugs. Without this demand, there would be no need for all the prisons and bloodshed associated with the War on Drugs. The prisons are filled to the brim, thanks in part to the failed drug war and non-violent offenders receiving long prison sentences. While everyone else is losing, it seems that those affiliated with the 74 billion dollar “Prison Industrial Complex” are winning all the way to the bank.
It is unfortunate when stubborn policy makers can’t admit to their failures. A smart businessperson knows when to cut their losses, but our government continues to throw hard-earned tax dollars into an endless hole. There is definitely a correlation between incarceration and the “War on Drugs” and maybe a public health approach could solve the problem. We must ask ourselves—during the days of prohibition, would it hurt to try? With so many lives being lost don’t we owe it to taxpayers to try something new? Can we do any worse?
The profit earned by drug dealers, private prisons, financial institutions, lawyers, lobbyists and other legal businesses is staggering and would collapse the nation’s economy if we legalized drugs. What would happen if the people woke up and took the black market out of the illegal drug business? Would the new policy end the “War on Drugs” as we know it today and take the fight in a new direction as outlined in the report? When someone tells you that weed, which is being made legal in states every year, is more dangerous than alcohol you know you are being played.
Ignorance and poverty are the root causes to a host of social issues that affect poor and disadvantaged citizens. When a nation can’t provide enough quality jobs, economic opportunities and good schools for its citizens self-preservation dictates what people do to survive and there are individuals and groups making money from those caught up in this mean cycle.
As a civilized nation do we punish a starving child for stealing food? Do we punish addicted citizens who need medical help with prison? People using drugs and alcohol have mental and/or physical problems that need professional help that will address the root cause(s) behind the addiction. Incarceration without quality treatment for substance abusers is a recipe for failure and the numbers don’t lie. We have a 67% recidivism rate and have been losing the War on Drugs for decades.
Wake up America because after years of fighting the war, the “prison and punishment” approach is a losing formula except for those that profit from the 19th century approach to solving a 21st century public health problem. Smart people make adjustments when their master plan is failing and the time to make the change is long overdue.
Yes, there is a correlation between drug legalization and incarceration and it is time for tax-paying citizens to wake up and put their hard earned money toward education, childcare, treatment and better care for our seniors. The Drug Policy Alliance report will help you better see why we need drug law reform to make this a better and safer country. Take the profit out the drug market and the chaos disappears just like magic.
The Obama administration has stopped calling their policies a “war on drugs.” But some critics say he has not done enough because ending the war requires more than simply changing the name of the strategy. The President’s 2014 budget has increased funding for treatment in comparison to the amount spent on enforcement last year, but the ratio is still 58% on enforcement and 42% on treatment. By comparison, this is the same ratio it was at the end of George W. Bush’s presidency.
Some say there is a lot Obama could do to address the War on Drugs from asking federal law enforcement agencies to take a hands-off approach in states that legalize marijuana and rescheduling pot, to telling federal agencies to stop preventing FDA approved research for medical marijuana.
The reason why the call for marijuana prohibition is spiking is because Liberals and Conservatives know we are losing the War on Drugs and they want to do something about it. A lot of people are filling up our federal prisons that are not real criminals, but thanks to the War on Drugs they will be upon their return. Terrorist groups fund their activities through illegal drugs. Drug Cartels, prison and street gangs are all players in the drug game so the safety of this country continues to be at stake. The reality is that when voters wake up and realize that they are losing the war on drugs big time, just like we did in Vietnam, they will demand that their elected officials come out of their dark cave and realize that a 20th century ideology can’t win in the 21st century unless you own stock in the “Prison Industrial Complex.”
Even though Gun Law Reform failed on the federal level, NYS has the toughest gun laws in the country and next week we will take a look at the policies that could change your life if you are caught with a gun in the Empire State.
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