Drug Policy

What Michelle Alexander calls the “roundup” of youth of color rests very heavily on arrests for low-level nonviolent drug possession. Although whites use drugs at roughly the same levels, the people who are picked up and sent to jail for drug use are overwhelmingly people of color, African Americans in particular. To stop the roundup we need to reform the drug laws and also bar racist law enforcement that selectively targets some communities and not others.

Trump’s Distortions of Crime, Violence, Drugs and Youth

How does a rigorously fact-based organization respond to President Donald Trump, who shows no interest in factual discussion of serious American issues like crime, violence, and drugs? In his February 28, 2017, address to Congress, Trump declared, “The murder rate in 2015 experienced its largest single-year increase in nearly half a century.” In fact, 2015’s murder increase (up six percentage points from 2014, coming after a 47 percentage point decline in the murder rate since 1990 to … [Read more...]

The Liberator: Susan Burton on the War on Drugs, Black Motherhood and Freedom

In 1981, Susan Burton’s 5-year-old son, her baby, ran into the street outside their home in South Los Angeles and was killed when a Los Angeles police officer struck him with his car. And he kept going. “The policeman never even stayed around,” Burton, 64, told The Root. “It was almost like it was a hit-and-run. And all I knew is when I was sitting in the hospital, a whole army of police officers descended into the hospital. “They never ever ever even said, ‘Ms. Burton, I’m sorry,’” … [Read more...]

Trump’s Vague, Failed Rhetoric Has Potential to Unleash New Harm

Recent executive orders are yet another example of President Trump’s fear mongering; using falsehoods, misinformation and coded rhetoric to push through his extreme and intolerant agenda. The Drug Policy Alliance's work to end the war on drugs connects the dots on these kinds of attacks on civil and human liberties. Trump’s vague “reduce crime” policy and creation of a new taskforce to strategize explicitly on illegal immigration, drug trafficking and violent crime, are nothing but throwback … [Read more...]

Better Solution Than a Border Wall? End Drug Prohibition

What does a multi-billion dollar mistake look like? He looks like a 70 year-old demagogue politician who occupies the White House. And it appears we will have a big-ass wall to remind us of it. If President Donald Trump follows through with his promise to build a ridiculous wall under the pretext of stopping migrants and drugs from entering the U.S., we will have a constant reminder when our tax dollars build his wall. Regarding immigration I’m no expert on that matter. That said, … [Read more...]

Drug Enforcement Declines After Proposition 47

A new report finds arrests and citations for drug possession have decreased in Los Angeles and San Diego counties after Prop 47: Declining Drug Enforcement Report. n November 2014, California took a significant step toward reforming mass criminalization and over-incarceration by passing Proposition 47, a ballot measure that changed certain low-level crimes from potential felonies to misdemeanors; prioritizing drug treatment over punishment. In 2015, the first full year after Prop 47, felony … [Read more...]

Marijuana Legalization Must Also Focus on Racial Justice

The following excerpts are from “Marijuana Legalization Without Racial Justice Risks   Being Another Extension of White Privilege” by Bill Piper, Senior Director of National Affairs for the Drug Police Alliance.  Written before last November’s elections, Piper argues marijuana legislation must also include racial justice- which has not been part of the marijuana legalization discussion. “The trend to legalize marijuana for medical use is good news because it reduces marijuana arrests and the … [Read more...]

The Price We Paid: Race, Reparative Justice, and the Drug War

To date, President Barack Obama has granted 774 commutations. That is more commutations than the previous nine presidents combined and more commutations than any individual president in nearly a century. The majority of people receiving commutations were convicted of drug offenses and sentenced to egregious mandatory minimum sentences. The announcement of commutations is commonly greeted with floods of adulation from media and advocates for fair sentencing that are laced with rhetoric calling … [Read more...]

Legal Marijuana, Death Penalty Initiatives: How Should Innercity Communities React?

Justice Revival Offers Spiritual, Legislative Criminal Justice Reform Solutions When: Thursday, October 6, 2016 Where: First AME Church of Los Angeles, 2270 So. Harvard Blvd., Los Angeles RSVP Here Overflow Parking & Shuttle Service: Holman United Methodist Church, 3320 West Adams Blvd Los Angeles America's decades-long "War on Drugs" and "War on Crime" have too often been morphed into a grotesque War on Blacks and Browns. Michelle Alexander's seminal work, "The New Jim Crow: Mass … [Read more...]

Jay Z: ‘The War on Drugs Is an Epic Fail’

This short film, narrated by Jay Z (Shawn Carter) and featuring the artwork of Molly Crabapple, is part history lesson about the war on drugs and part vision statement. As Ms. Crabapple’s haunting images flash by, the film takes us from the Nixon administration and the Rockefeller drug laws — the draconian 1973 statutes enacted in New York that exploded the state’s prison population and ushered in a period of similar sentencing schemes for other states — through the extraordinary growth in our … [Read more...]

California Police Groups Fighting Death Penalty Repeal, Marijuana Legalization

California law enforcement organizations are giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to fight efforts to repeal the death penalty and legalize marijuana. While five of the 17 measures on the state’s November ballot concern crime and punishment, contributions from police groups are focused on three initiative battles, the analysis found. Law enforcement groups have provided nearly $2 million of the $3.6 million given to the campaign for Proposition 66, a measure aimed at reducing delays in … [Read more...]