War on Drugs

War on Drugs - Michael Samuels 12/08/07 Sociology 145 Extra...

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Michael Samuels 12/08/07 Sociology 145 Extra Credit War on Drugs Over the two decades there has been a steady rise in the incarceration rates within the criminal justice system of the United States. This is a very interesting point because somehow the victimization rates have been steadily falling at the same time. The next question is very clear, how are we imprisoning more people yet there are fewer victims? The answer stems from a constant, yet futile war on drugs that has seen little to no results since its inception starting around 1986. The war on drugs is the term used by many politicians over the last decade when describing how the country to handling the “drug problem”. When most people here the word war, they connect it with Vietnam, Iraq or World War 2. Things like drugs don’t generally come to mind. When reading through this essay keep the word war in mind. Is this the type of word we want to associate with drug use? Are we at war with our local teenagers and people of poor socioeconomic status? Shouldn’t we perhaps use lingo that describes our desire to help such individuals? These are just a couple of questions to keep in mind while reading. Before a timeline of this discussion begins, it is important to specify the underlying point of this essay. The prosecution of non violent and property crime is the
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number one reason for rise in the incarceration rate, and the majority of these individuals are lower level drug offenders, commonly referred to as casual abusers or dime-bag sellers, people who have no place being locked up behind bars, when in reality they should be receiving counseling or other kinds of ‘personal’ help. This points to an absolute necessity in drug law reformation. With all of this said, it is important to discuss of some of the roots of the war on drugs to better assess the current situation. 1986 was the unofficial start of the War on Drugs. This was when the idea of crack cocaine moved from an upper class businessman’s past time activity became a country wide epidemic that is ruining our youth. Clearly this wasn’t the case. Before 1986, less than 5% of the country ranked a drug epidemic as the most important issue at hand for our country, yet from 1986-1991 that number inflated to over 60% while drug abuse actually FELL during this time period. This is very suspicious and there was an
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War on Drugs - Michael Samuels 12/08/07 Sociology 145 Extra...

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