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US Drug War: Beginning of the End?

Ho||yw0oD

TRIBE Member
BBC News - US to cut back minimum sentences for some drug offences

US to cut back minimum sentences for some drug offences

The Obama administration is to unveil a major reform of the criminal justice system, dropping mandatory minimum sentences in certain drug cases.

Such terms will not be imposed for non-violent drug offenders with no gang or cartel ties, Attorney General Eric Holder is expected to say.

The US has one of the world's biggest prison populations, despite a 40-year-low in the country's crime rates.

Critics say that heavy drug sentences have hit minorities hardest.

"We need to ensure that incarceration is used to punish, deter and rehabilitate - not merely to convict, warehouse and forget," Mr Holder will say in Monday's speech to the American Bar Association in San Francisco, according to excerpts released to US media.

'Vicious cycle'
Under the reforms, Mr Holder is directing US attorneys who draft drug indictments for non-violent offenders with no previous charges or gang ties to leave out any mention of the quantity of illegal substance involved, to avoiding triggering a mandatory minimum sentence.


He is expected to advocate sending people convicted of low-level offences to drug treatment and community service programmes instead of prison.

Such terms, created as part of the US "war on drugs" in the 1980s, prevent judges from applying discretion when sentencing certain drug offences.

According to excerpts of his prepared remarks released to media, the attorney general is expected to say: "A vicious cycle of poverty, criminality and incarceration traps too many Americans and weakens too many communities.

"However, many aspects of our criminal justice system may actually exacerbate this problem rather than alleviate it."

Mr Holder will also back efforts by lawmakers to allow judges to use more flexibility with mandatory minimum sentences.

Some states, including Texas, have already introduced programmes designed to limit incarceration of low-level offenders.

Mr Holder is also expected to announce an expanded compassionate release for inmates facing extraordinary circumstances and who pose no threat to the public.

The policy is expected to include elderly prisoners who did not commit violent crimes and who have already served a significant portion of their sentences.

Some 47% of US prison inmates have been incarcerated for drug offences, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.


Additional Info:
Black and Hispanic people are over-represented in the prison system, 37% and 34% respectively
US prisons are operating at nearly 40% above capacity
Some 219,000 federal inmates are behind bars
The cost of incarceration in the US was $80bn in 2010
Source: Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons
 

praktik

TRIBE Member
The tide is turning but its still a long road ahead of us. I get the feeling we will see changes in places other than America go further than America will... they will be the last ones to really dismantle this architecture, and I think the socio-cultural milieu in the elite levels of society is still toxic to reform, though its nice to see more and more of the middle and lower classes realize the bankruptcy of this effort.

We need a few more Portugals, we need Canada and Latin America to make some moves, along with some real cultural changes in the American establishment before we see Real Progress...
 

Lojack

TRIBE Member
I applaud the effort, but I'm cynical. Seems he's trying to steel thunder from the growing libertarian movement and deflect from the mass surveillance/Egypt/Economy stories etc etc.
 
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Maui

TRIBE Member
The beginning of the end for pot was when Colorado decriminalized it a few years ago. The state made something like 21 million off it the following year and used 9 million of that to help pay off their deficit. Now it's decriminalized on the federal level their. All kinds of businesses are flourishing now.
 

Taro

TRIBE Member
The tide is turning but its still a long road ahead of us. I get the feeling we will see changes in places other than America go further than America will... they will be the last ones to really dismantle this architecture, and I think the socio-cultural milieu in the elite levels of society is still toxic to reform, though its nice to see more and more of the middle and lower classes realize the bankruptcy of this effort.

We need a few more Portugals, we need Canada and Latin America to make some moves, along with some real cultural changes in the American establishment before we see Real Progress...
I applaud the effort, but I'm cynical. Seems he's trying to steel thunder from the growing libertarian movement and deflect from the mass surveillance/Egypt/Economy stories etc etc.
Latin America I don't see following suit unless the US stops funding them - they provide a huge amount of money to that region -

I think there is something to be skeptical about - I think they're tyring to deflect information too
 

Ho||yw0oD

TRIBE Member
Uruguay is very close (weeks I think?) to having marijuana legalized and state-controlled. I think we may see much of Latin America following suit.

[dreaming]

It would be interesting to see what effect drugs legalization would have if Canada, US and Mexico all moved towards legalization. It could single handedly solve Mexico's serious gang violence issues, not to mention organized crime and related violence throughout Canada and the US.

Imagine if Mexico set up state-run recreational drug companies and they granted gang leaders amnesty in exchange for no violence and then put them into executive roles in the companies?

[/dreaming]
 

praktik

TRIBE Member
Good survey here: http://countthecosts.org/sites/default/global-drug-decriminalisation_.pdf

But Taro the cracks are actually further along in Latin America than America, probably cause their social price is even higher for it.

Recent rise of the Boliva/Venezuela/Argentina axis has created the space and even governments closer to the Americans are feeling more comfy about being open to it. Last OAS meeting was the scene of some tension as the decriminalization issue was the elephant in the room and the Americans didn't want to admit it was there... Aside from some toadys in Columbia the Americans were pretty much the odd man out...
 
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Bacchus

TRIBE Promoter
Uruguay is very close (weeks I think?) to having marijuana legalized and state-controlled. I think we may see much of Latin America following suit.

[dreaming]

It would be interesting to see what effect drugs legalization would have if Canada, US and Mexico all moved towards legalization. It could single handedly solve Mexico's serious gang violence issues, not to mention organized crime and related violence throughout Canada and the US.

Imagine if Mexico set up state-run recreational drug companies and they granted gang leaders amnesty in exchange for no violence and then put them into executive roles in the companies?

[/dreaming]
pssst, recreational drugs *are* legal in mexico since 2009.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/21/world/americas/21mexico.html?_r=0
 
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