Canada: Don’t Make the Same Mistakes We Made About Drug Laws!
With the leftover hail still visible in the yard, today is a day for hunkering down and enjoying a peaceful day. I found some interesting reading about US conservatives many of whom have begun to realize how foolish our government’s ‘war on drugs’ has ended up being.
Asa Hutchinson, who Republican once ran the DEA, recently spoke to a group of Canadian lawmakers warning them not to enact stricter drug laws. “We have made some mistakes and I hope you can learn from those mistakes,” he said. The story was posted on www.miller-mccune.com newsletter.
He said the biggest mistake is jailing nonviolent drug offenders. Instead, he promoted what the US is now doing, putting the offenders in front of Drug Courts, which mete out sentences like attending AA or NA meetings, and require 90 days of positive drug tests. Rehabilitation, not incarceration, is the goal, and the re-offend rate is a fraction of what is found in regular courts. In Massachusetts, there are 22 drug court sessions operated by the state courts, as well as one by the US District Court in Boston.
These drug courts started in Florida in 1989, and now there are more than 2140 of them across the US. Despite many conservative’s ‘tough on crime’ mentality, the cause of eliminating drug penalties falls very much in line with their philosophy of smaller government. We simply can’t afford to jail as many people as we jailing now, and state’s budgets are exploding with red ink from unfunded pensions and paying for prison guards.
Hutchinson’s told the Canadians that with 5% of the world’s population, the US has 23 % of the word’s jailed prisoners. Enough said!