Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Guardian explains again why the War on Drugs has failed

Prohibitionists have railed and rallied against the Australia 21 Report with the likes of Andrew Bolt using a combination of mockery and selective facts to slam it. But such people always ignore facts such as the following, published by the Guardian/Observer - and the immense collateral damage wrought on families by prohibition:
It hasn't even worked well in America, its birthplace. When Nixon announced the war on drugs in 1971, the US kept just 0.2% of its population behind bars. Today, it incarcerates close to 0.8% of its population – 2.25 million Americans. A further 5 million are on parole or probation. In total, more than 7 million people in the US are under correctional supervision. If they were all gathered together they could form the 13th biggest state of the union by population.
This is the highest percentage of adults imprisoned anywhere in the world. These figures matter because the mandatory sentencing for drugs misuse has contributed hugely to the rise of the US prison population. In 2006, nearly one in eight prisoners was behind bars for marijuana-related offences. By 2003, more than half of females in US prisons were serving sentences for drug convictions. Approximately half-a-million people are in prison for a drug offence in the US today compared with 40,000 in 1981.
In the US, it isn't a war on drugs any longer – it has become a war on drug users.
On the bright side, shock-jock Alan Jones has apparently come out in favour of decriminalisation. The prohibitionists' ranks are dwindling under an onslaught of sense. If only the politicians would get with the program!

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