Currently there is a movement pushing away from putting non-violent drug offenders in jail. It is difficult to change the direction of ever-increasing imprisonment that the criminal justice system seems to be traveling towards, but it is necessary.
Moms suffer in a particular way in this system, because they are separated from, and often lose their children. Obviously there are some cases in which foster care and adoption are ideal options, but for the most part it is better to keep families together. JusticeAsHealing.org is a group started by Moms who have been jailed on drug charges, and their mission statement is:
“We speak from the perspective of incarcerated women and their children in support of harm reduction alternatives to the current U.S. drug policies that separate mothers from children, destroy families and communities, and have resulted in mass incarceration.”
There are 3,600 jails in the US and 100 prisons. The Association of American Colleges and Universities states there are 2618 accredited four-year colleges and universities in the US. That means America has more places for adults to be locked up than to learn. Since 1980 California has built 21 new prisons and only one new college.
More than one out of every 200 American adults is behind bars right now in America. Six million people in the US are currently under some sort of correctional supervision (prison, jail, probation, parole etc.) The US is the world’s leading jailer. For further information about the economics involved in the Drug War, there is a good, short video available at http://fee.tv/40th-anniversary-of-the-war-on-drugs/
The Corrections Corporation of America states, “Our growth is generally dependent upon our ability to obtain new contracts to develop and manage new correctional and detention facilities.…any changes with respect to drugs….could affect the number of persons arrested, convicted, and sentenced, thereby potentially reducing demand for correctional facilities to house them.” So we have turned caging our citizens into an industry.
The idea that “drug prohibition is the true cause of much of the social and personal damage that has historically been attributed to drug use” is not new, but it is finally being listened to on a national scale. According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report 2010, 1.6 million people were arrested for drug offences that year (82% were for possession alone.)
“The reality is that most Americans use some drugs and most families include someone who is dealing with addiction to a legal or illegal drug. By declaring a ‘War on Drugs’ we have declared a war on ourselves, our families, and our communities,” says Tony Newman of www.drugpolicy.org
Neill Franklin, retired State Police Major and Executive Director of www.leap.cc, explains, “History has shown that drug prohibition reduces neither use nor abuse. After a rapist is arrested, there are fewer rapes. After a drug dealer is arrested however, neither the supply nor the demand for drugs is seriously changed…. Forty years and some forty million arrests later, drugs are cheaper, more potent and far more widely used than at the beginning of this futile crusade.”
Gopnik, Adam. The Caging of America. 30 January 2012.
Miriam’s House: A Home for Women and Children
Hsu, Andrea. Difficult Births: Laboring And Delivering In Shackles. 16 July 2010.
Lopez, Steve. A Former L.A. Cop Calls For Legalizing Drugs. 17 June 2012.
Filed under: Featured, Life · Tags: abuse, Addiction, addicts, Alcohol and Drugs, American, Americans, Association of American Colleges and Universities, cops, Corrections Corporation of America, Drug Abuse, drug charges, drug offences, drug offenders, drug war, giving birth in jail, harm reduction, illegal drugs, incarceration, Jail, JusticeAsHealing.org, legalization of drugs, locked, locked up, Neill Franklin, non-violent, non-violent drug offenders, Parole, Police, Prison, rehab, substance abuse, system, Treatment, United States, using, using drugs, war on drugs, women, women in jail