The main issue when it comes to drugs in the United States is the inefficient policies and sentencing laws that have been created. Also, the injustices within these policies pertaining primarily to race. Once the “war on drugs” was claimed the only way the government and law enforcement saw fit to handling this skyrocketing issue was to incarcerate offenders. Although this solution worked for a while, other alternatives needed to be made. However, these alternatives were not made and this left the drug policies, sentencing laws, and injustices at a standstill. Alternative policies and sentencing laws need to be made due to high incarceration rates. These high rates are costing the government and tax payers more money out of their pockets. This …show more content…
Data from The Sentencing Project shows that “African Americans use drugs at a 9.7% rate. This is considerably higher compared to 8.1% for whites and 7.6% for Hispanics” (King., Mauer, p.18, 2007). This is one of the reasons why African Americans are a primary target when it comes to drug policies and sentencing laws. This makes this group more inclined to be arrested compared to other races. Especially because, “African Americans make up 14% of the nation’s monthly drug users, they also represent 37% of individuals arrested for a drug offense, and 56% represent individuals in state prison for a drug conviction” (King., Mauer, p.20, 2007). This is evidence that African American communities are more inclined to have drug dealers and possible drug users. “However, drug selling activity does not accurately indicate that drug use and dependency are in certain neighborhoods and this fuels a strong misperception about patterns of drug abuse in American society” (King., Mauer, p.21, 2007). Therefore, the targeting towards African American community’s primarily due to this data may not be accurate. This also causes law enforcement to ignore other communities that might be heavily influenced by drug dealers. This is one practice that needs to change, not only throughout drug policies and sentencing laws but throughout the …show more content…
However, these few changes to the practices and policies that are currently enforced could send things in a positive direction. Although it might not eliminate the drug issues within the policies that are made, it could stop offenders from staying in a constant cycle. Looking into unjust sentencing laws could also help end the issue with the crack versus cocaine problem in African American communities. The policies that were created are not terrible, but it is time for the government to take a deeper look and make a
In 2010, the US Congress passed the Fair Sentencing Act (FSA) which reduced the sentencing difference between offenses for crack and powder cocaine. Many people in law enforcement believed that there is more violence associated with a crack cocaine crime, rather than a powder cocaine offense. Due to the increasing amount of reports and cases of aggressive offenses, Urban Leaders in America allowed the sentences of the crime to be extended because of the violence in a drug trafficking offense. In the article, “Data Show Racial Disparity in Crack Sentencing” by Danielle Kurtzleben, states that, “The figures for the 6,020 powder cocaine cases are far less skewed: 17 percent of these offenders were white, 28 percent were black, and 53 percent were
One of the major causes of the mass incarceration epidemic has been the War on Drugs, which was officially declared by President Nixon in the 1970s. Alexander notes that, despite the White House’s aggressive rhetoric, the 1960s and 1970s were a period of relatively low drug-related crime. In the forty years since the War on Drugs began, it is overwhelmingly young black men who have been arrested, convicted, and incarcerated. The racial disparity in the criminal justice system does not correspond to actual rates of drug use between blacks and whites; in reality, it is due to a legal framework that allows law enforcement to target minorities (e.g., racial profiling and stop-and-frisk) and harsh prison sentences for minor drug offenses (e.g., mandatory minimum drug sentences and three-strikes laws). As our criminal justice system offers little to incarcerated individuals in terms of rehabilitation,
In 2014 there were 215,000 people incarcerated in federal prisons, almost half were there for drug-related offenses with the enactment of mandatory minimum sentencing laws for drug offenses in the 1980s, increasing the population by more than 800 percent (Malcolm, 2014.) “Moreover, drug offenders make up the single largest category of incarcerated offenders in Tennessee, serving an average sentence of 9.7 years” (Malcolm, 2014, paragraph 21.) By limit sentencing, we can address the issues of high cost, by using probation and parole for more misdemeanor
The purpose of this literature review is to prove that drug court programs are an effective alternative to incarceration for people struggling with substance abuse issues. According to the Bureau of Justice statistics seventeen percent of prisoners at the state level were incarcerated due to drug related crimes. Eighteen percent of federal cases were related to drugs (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2004). According to Lutze and Van Wormer the drug court model was formulated in response to the revolving cycle involved with substance addiction and crime.
With the economy in the turmoil that it is in America cannot continue to support these sentencing guidelines. The Mandatory Article Sentencing declares that the laws are becoming a huge drain on the Justice Bureau’s budget, and in 2012 the United States had far beyond more people incarcerated than any other country. Most of these prisoners are low-level drug offenders sentenced under mandatory sentencing guidelines with a cost draining on American taxpayers $6.8 billion a year, as of 2012. These costs do not seem to have a ceiling and continue eating up about twenty-five percent of the federal justice system’s yearly budget.
An 18 year old first time offender caught with less than two ounces of cocaine received a 10 year sentence. A 46 year old father of three who sold some of his painkillers to someone he thought was his friend, received a 25 year sentence. In 2006 37.5% of all state and federal prisoners were black. One in 33 african american men were in jail, compared to one in 205 white men and one in 79 hispanic men.
Federal Policy makers have focus on “ mandatory minimum sentences for drug trafficking, and the length of prison sentences in general. Cutting lengths of stay 50 percent for drug trafficking offenses would reduce the federal prison population 18 percent by 2023” Ryan King, Bryce Peterson, Brian Elderbroom, and Samuel A. Taxy (October
The bureau is constantly trying to improve its treatment for inmates, lowering the number of new inmates, while deceasing the number of inmates who return to prison life. Programs both inside and outside of the federal prison system are conducted in an attempt to understand what is the driving force behind crime. As mentioned previously, one of the largest criminal offenses for inmate incarceration is illegal drug activity, either its manufacture, possession, purchase, sale, or use. Approximately fifty-one percent of inmates are incarcerated due to illegal drug activity. Studies are even conducted to determine how race and ethnicity play a social factor into incarceration due to illegal drug activity.
The current system that incarcerates people over and over is unsustainable and does not lower the crime rate nor encourage prisoner reformation. When non-violent, first time offenders are incarcerated alongside violent repeat offenders, their chance of recidivating can be drastically altered by their experience in prison. Alternative sentencing for non-violent drug offenders could alleviate this problem, but many current laws hinder many possible solutions. Recently lawmakers have made attempts to lower the recidivism rates in America, for example the Second Chance Act helps aid prisoners returning into society after incarceration. The act allows states to appropriate money to communities to help provide services such as education, drug treatment programs, mental health programs, job corps services, and others to aid in offenders returning to society after incarceration (Conyers, 2013).
The date indicates that the Black share of drug crimes is almost exactly equal to the Black share of the population (2009). O’Hear explored different hypothesis and he stated for the second hypothesis, Blacks tend to commit more serious drug crimes than Whites. Blacks are arrested for more serious offenses, but that does not reflect a higher rate of commission of such offenses. The higher arrest rates may be due to racial profiling or the greater law enforcement presence in urban neighborhoods. "Researcher found that Whites were responsible for a majority of the drug distribution but the Blacks constituted a majority of who were arrested"
In The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in The Era of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander, she begins by points out the underlying problem in our Criminal Justice system. The problem being prioritizing the control of those in this racial caste rather than focusing on reasonable punishment and efforts to deter crime. Alexander begins by speaking of her experience as a civil rights lawyer and what soon became her priority after seeing a poster that mentioned how the war on drugs is the new jim crow when it comes to the application and outcome of it. As Alexander points out the correlation between the war on drugs and it being the new jim crow, she discusses the mass incarceration that is prevalent in our society and the number of African American
In 1972, former President Richard Nixon made his infamous statements regarding crime and drug abuse. In this speech, he declared a war on crime and drugs and intended to decrease the number of people using drugs and the amount of crimes that were committed. Since this declaration, incarceration rates in the U.S. have gone up by 500%, even though the amount of crime happening has gone down. One of the reasons why I feel our rates have risen, is because sometimes, we put people in jail when they don’t need to be there in the first place.
isn’t the only thing people believe needs to change; the reasons for arrests have been criticized by many. America incarcerates more citizens for drug related crimes than any other place in the world. Of the roughly 200,000 in federal prison, 52% are being held for drug crimes and only 8% are for violent crimes, such as: murder, assault, and robbery (Waldman, 2013). Many believe that the “War on Drugs” must become less aggressive because of its large contribution to the prison population. The distribution of prisoners by race has also raised concern among Americans.