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Invisibleafoaf
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Interesting Statistics on Incarceration
    #1754301 - 07/28/03 12:22 AM (13 years, 6 months ago)

http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/07/27/prison.population.ap/index.html

I guess interesting isn't the word.

upsetting is more like it.

did you know that 1 out of every 143 citizens was
in federal, state or local custody at the end of 2002?

drug offenders make up over half.

it is interesting to see the undertones of the health issue
vs criminal issue debate in the article.

financial forces could certainly add fuel to the fire of
drug law reform.


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OfflineBaby_Hitler
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Re: Interesting Statistics on Incarceration [Re: afoaf]
    #1754451 - 07/28/03 01:37 AM (13 years, 6 months ago)

How many drug offenders are there on other charges as well I wonder.

It's not unusual for a car thief to get caught and when he is arrested they find crack on him.

I think statistics like that need to specify which people are there for just drugs.


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Invisibleluvdemshrooms
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Registered: 11/29/01
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Re: Interesting Statistics on Incarceration [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #1754907 - 07/28/03 05:27 AM (13 years, 6 months ago)

Quote:

How many drug offenders are there on other charges as well I wonder.




Very good question. That would be interesting to know.


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You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. What one person receives without working for another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for that my dear friend is the beginning of the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it. ~ Adrian Rogers


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OfflinePhred
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Re: Interesting Statistics on Incarceration [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #1755169 - 07/28/03 07:21 AM (13 years, 6 months ago)

I have seen various other reports giving roughly the same percentage. Department of Justice used to have a section somewhere on their site that spelled out how many are in jail on what charge, but I can't be bothered to look for it now.

Even if the figure isn't exactly 50%, it is still WAAAY too high. 1% would be too high. No one should be imprisoned just for taking, owning, or selling drugs. The federal drug laws are clearly unconstitutional.

pinky


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Offlinewingnutx
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Re: Interesting Statistics on Incarceration [Re: luvdemshrooms]
    #1755337 - 07/28/03 08:59 AM (13 years, 6 months ago)

Another good question: how many violent offenses were committed in support of black-market drug sales? You still have coke dealers tryignto kil each other, while the whiskey salesmen have given that sort of thing up.

A lot of violence cannot be disentangled from the black market.

I'm probably preaching to the choir here.


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OfflineGrav
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Re: Interesting Statistics on Incarceration [Re: wingnutx]
    #1755355 - 07/28/03 09:10 AM (13 years, 6 months ago)

when something is unconstitutional, all you have to do is make it a war and freak everyone the hell out.


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Offlinepattern
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Re: Interesting Statistics on Incarceration [Re: Grav]
    #1755579 - 07/28/03 10:53 AM (13 years, 6 months ago)

November Coalition
http://www.november.org/


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Offlinepattern
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Re: Interesting Statistics on Incarceration [Re: afoaf]
    #1755588 - 07/28/03 10:59 AM (13 years, 6 months ago)

here's an interesting article linked from the November site:

http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v03/n1113/a02.html?199

THE MORONICS OF DRUG LAWS

AUSTIN, Texas -- It's an odd country, really. Our largest growth industries are gambling and prisons. But as you may have heard, crimes rates are dropping. We're not putting people into prison for hurting other people. We're putting them into prison for using drugs, and as we already know, that doesn't help them or us.

Our entire system of criminal justice is becoming more and more bizarrely prosecutorial -- a federal court has just held that the Miranda rule no longer applies. ( That decision, by the way, was the result of a case brought by the Landmark Legal Foundation, the right-wing outfit that gets money from the same Richard Mellon Scaife so notable in the apparently endless effort to get President Clinton. )

In 1998, more than 600,000 people in this country were arrested for possession of marijuana, a drug less harmful for adults than alcohol. A famous British medical journal, The Lancet, concluded last year: "On the medical evidence available, moderate indulgence in cannabis has little ill effect on health." And according to an ad campaign by Common Sense for Drug Policy, a Department of Health and Human Services study shows that less than 1 percent of marijuana users become regular users of cocaine or heroin.

Of course, drug policy in this country has a long history of tragicomic turns. Back in the early '70s, Texas still had berserker marijuana laws ( first-offense possession of any amount was a two-to-life felony ). I will never forget the jaw-dropped amazement with which we learned that Nelson Rockefeller, then the governor of New York, had proposed a similarly draconian law there on the grounds that "Texas has it, and it works very well."

It worked so badly that it was a rank, open scandal, and the very next year, the Texas Legislature -- which by no means had any claim to the progressive credentials for which Rockefeller was noted -- repealed the thing. Even the Texas Lege could see what a piece of folly that was.

But the history of our drug policy is that there's always some new drug to be frightened of, usually associated with a feared minority group, as opium was with Asians and marijuana with Mexicans. And in the 1980s, along came crack, associated with inner-city blacks.

According to The New York Times, "Crack poisoned many communities. Dealers turned neighborhoods into drug markets. As heavily armed gangs fought over turf, murder rates shot up. Authorities warned that crack was instantly addictive and spreading rapidly and predicted that a generation of crack babies would bear the drug's imprint. It looked like a nightmare with no end."

"But for all the havoc wreaked by crack, the worst fears were not realized. Crack appealed mainly to hard-core drug users. The number of crack users began falling not long after surveys began counting them. A decade later, the violence of the crack trade has burned out, and the murder rates have plunged."

Which would be great news, except for Boots Cooper's immortal dictum: "Some things that won't hurt you will scare you so bad that you hurt yourself." And you should see what fear of crack has done to the American system of criminal justice.

The Times reports that every 20 seconds, someone in America is arrested for a drug violation. Every week, a new jail or prison is built to house them all in what is now the world's largest penal system.

A lethal combination of media sensationalism and political law-and-order opportunism pushed through a virulent stew of get-tough-on-drugs laws. The worst were mandatory minimum sentences, which took away the discretion of judges to lighten up when they feel it appropriate, and the three-strikes-and-you're-out laws.

The Times seems slightly startled by the injustices that these laws have wrought, noting in one alarmed bit of type: "Mother of two gets life in prison for $40 worth of cocaine." Shoot, that's nothin' -- in Texas, we gave a guy life for stealing a sandwich. "Father of nine gets ten years for growing marijuana plants." Hah! In Texas, we gave a guy more than that for busting a watermelon. Don't get me stah-ted.

A further distortion in the system produced by these wacky laws is that good behavior can no longer get you out of prison early; the only way out is to roll over on somebody else. It pays to sing in this system.

And do you think it makes a lot of difference to people doing time whether they get out by telling the truth or by making it up? One defense attorney said: "They're like crazed, berserk rats in there; they'll say anything." And so another unhappy consequence of our fear of crack is that more and more people are being convicted of crimes they never committed because other people in prison are willing to lie about them.

"Since 1985, the nation's jail and prison population has grown 130 percent, and it will soon pass 2 million, even as crime rates continue a six-year decline," reports the Times. And on top of that is the particularly ugly racist distortion in the law.

The gross disparities in sentencing between powder cocaine users ( largely white ) and crack users constitute one of the open scandals of America. What is less well known is that most crack users are white, too. But law enforcement has so heavily targeted inner-city black neighborhoods that black users are going to prison at a far higher rate.

But none of this -- not all the new drug laws and new prisons or incredible incarceration rates -- has reduced illicit drug use. Far fewer Americans use drugs today than did at the peak years in the 1970s, but almost all of the drop occurred before crack or the laws passed in response to it, according to the Times.

Unless you are a drug user or know somebody in the joint, all this may seem far removed from your life. It's not. They're taking money away from your kids' schools to pay for all this, from helping people who are mentally retarded and mentally ill, from mass transit and public housing and more parkland and ...


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Invisibleafoaf
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Re: Interesting Statistics on Incarceration [Re: Phred]
    #1755665 - 07/28/03 11:46 AM (13 years, 6 months ago)

Quote:

The federal drug laws are clearly unconstitutional.




curiously, how so?

are we talking 'cruel and unusual' unconstitutionality
or *other*?


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InvisibleDoctorJ
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Re: Interesting Statistics on Incarceration [Re: afoaf]
    #1755949 - 07/28/03 01:29 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

I read in High Times that the government is now not reporting the cost of housing federal drug crime inmates in the total cost of the drug war, in order to make it look cheaper to the taxpayers. Also, they are doing it retroactively, so it looks like the drug war NEVER cost more than X amount.

Their justification: imprisoning drug offenders is a "secondary cost" of the drug war and shouldn't be included in the primary cost estimate.

what a load of doublespeak


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OfflineAzmodeus
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Re: Interesting Statistics on Incarceration [Re: DoctorJ]
    #1756080 - 07/28/03 02:12 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

Wha?!...you mean they might imply one thing, and selectively conceal/ give information to support it?.....the government?!?!....NAHhhhhh...........

If they play the drug war like the one on terrorism, support should reach a new record soon. :frown:


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Lest we forget. "


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