Since the establishment of the “War on Drugs” during the Nixon administration, chaos has erupted in countries abroad and domestically. Entire families have been destroyed by unjust incarceration in America. While almost everyone agrees that drugs are dangerous and do much damage themselves, it can be argued that the legal consequences of these substances compound these terrible issues and add thousands of dollars in fees and/or prison time to an already terrible situation. Every year a disproportionate amount of minorities are incarcerated compared to their white counterparts in almost every single demographic. This trend is not only continuing but rising by an alarming amount and will continue to do so for years to come. Basic steps need to be made to change these laws and make right on the claim of “liberty and justice for all”. While the factors behind this trend are as numerous as the consequences, this report will attempt to dissect the reasons behind this growth and that of the entire prison population in general as it correlates to the War on Drugs. Statistics will be utilized to try and paint a picture of the situation and analyze the effectiveness as well as the reasons behind the federal prohibitions of these substances. The report will conclude with a detailed consensus of how to go about reducing the number of prisoners by overturning draconian laws aimed at suppressing minority populations through disproportionate incarceration, harvesting citizens for their resources and creating a prison state out of normally law abiding people.
One significant reason for the continued effort to incarcerate and fine drug offenders is the prison industrial complex that makes the United States of America the country with the highest amount of prisoners per capita than any other nation in the world (The Sentencing Project). With this alarming statistic comes the sobering reality that the prison system turns a profit and those individuals within it are merely a product. Since the number of people committing violent crimes and terrible scams are not great enough to fill the barracks of a prison, low level criminals pedaling prohibited substances are left to fill the void. Since incarceration makes finding a job much more difficult, criminal activities are then, for many, the only way to acquire any income post-incarceration what so ever. Additionally these minor offenders are then often mixed with other; far worse offenders thus breed a new, bolder criminal. Private companies are continuing to take over the prison system and this cyclical destruction of lives is their business model. (Carson and Sabol)
Such evil practices are more damaging then the problem they are inefficient at trying to prevent causing a society to have over 3% of its population under some kind of correctional supervision (U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics). This number of incarcerated individuals costs tax payers billions of dollars a year to feed, clothe and care for medical conditions that would have previously been the responsibility of the individuals themselves. With the increasing expenses brought on by higher incarceration rates and healthcare costs, even more tax dollars are going to be necessary to keep the industrial prison complex going. Under the guise of caring for the people, the government will continue to harvest those with the least to feed the coffers of the rich. Such injustice cannot be allowed to continue if the United States continues to call itself a free country. (Table on the right displays the rising amount of incarcerated Americans from 1920 to 2006)
Out of all the crimes pertaining to illicit substances, cannabis possession is the most common offense. Penalties in some states are as dire as years of probation, jail time and heavy fines for simple possession. Felony drug convictions can result in a variety of catastrophic punitive measures: one can be...