Prison and the War on Drugs

Topics: Prison, Recidivism, Drug addiction Pages: 3 (1010 words) Published: January 23, 2012

Prison and The War on Drugs

Week One Assignment CJA 234

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Prison and the War on Drugs.
The war on drugs has been implemented for more than 30 years. Currently, there are close to a half million persons imprisoned on drug charges in this country. That is a tenfold increase over the 50,000 in 1980. (, 2011) In the past few years, close to $40 billion has been spent annually fighting the war on drugs. As a result of the drastic increase in drug-related arrests and convictions, the United States currently has the largest prison system in the world. The majority of these are nonviolent criminals. The estimated prison population is around nine million. The United S accounts for approximately a fourth of this number. “With an incarceration rate of 724 per 100,000 inhabitants, the United States is the unchallenged world leader in both raw numbers and imprisonment per capita In terms of raw numbers, only China, with almost four times the population of the US, comes close with about 1.5 million prisoners. Our closer competitors in incarceration rates are Russia (638 per 100,000) and Belarus (554)”, according to the British government's World Prison Population report (National Archives, 2003). Currently, the majority of police departments have paramilitary units, or SWAT teams, many of which have received their training from military instructors. One of the main duties of these teams is to carry out drug-related search warrants. Many of these are what are called ‘no-knock’ entries, which means the officers are authorized to enter the premises to be searched without any warning to the occupants. This is so the suspects do not have time to either flee or hide or destroy any evidence. The sudden increase of drug-related arrests and convictions is one of the main causes of the current prison overcrowding situation. The overcrowding makes it very difficult for the prison...

References:, Prisons: Problems and Prospects - Prisons And The War On Drugs., (2011). Retrieved from:
National Archives, World Prison Population List, fourth edition, (2003). Retrieved from:
Stop The Drug War. org, Drug War Prisoner Count Over Half a Million, US Prison Population at All-Time High, (2005). Retrieved from:
Wren, Christopher S. "Arizona Finds Cost Savings in Treating Drug Offenders: Probation Program, not Prisons, for Addicts." New York Times, 21 April 1999.
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