Prop. 47, Other Reforms Correctly Prioritize Prevention Over Punishment

When I was a police captain in Inglewood in 1993, the crime rate was more than twice as high as it is today. Concerns about crime created a “lock ’em up” mentality, driving lawmakers to create a system based on incarceration. Between 1984 and 1991 lawmakers passed more than 1,000 new crime bills, many of which increased penalties. Meanwhile, California voters approved the nation’s toughest Three Strikes policy. After spending my entire career in law enforcement and corrections, it’s clear … [Read more...]

Religious Declaration for New Drug Policy

As voices of faith, we call for an end to the War on Drugs which the United States has waged, at home and abroad, for over 40 years. This War has failed to achieve its stated objectives; deepened divisions between rich and poor, black, white, and brown; squandered over one trillion dollars; and turned our country into a “prisoner” nation. ver 2.3 million people are now incarcerated in the US, more than any other nation on the planet, including Russia, South Africa, and China. The U.S. to … [Read more...]

If Black Lives Matter, End the War on Crime

#460168154 / gettyimages.com rom the perspective of tens of thousands of protesters around the nation this week, the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in Staten Island reflected an unfathomable decision by white police officers to kill unarmed black men engaged in trivial criminal (if any) behavior. To thousands of police officers (and their families), these deaths fit in a different narrative, one where very large and powerful men responded to lawful police … [Read more...]

War on Drugs Ending?

Voters Across Country Accelerate Unprecedented Momentum to Legalize Marijuana, End Drug War oters across the country have accelerated the unprecedented momentum to legalize marijuana and end the wider drug war, with marijuana legalization measures passing in Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., while groundbreaking criminal justice reforms passed in California and New Jersey. “This Election Day was an extraordinary one for the marijuana and criminal justice reform movements,” said Ethan … [Read more...]

Just How Much The War On Drugs Impacts Our Overcrowded Prisons, In One Chart

merica's prisons are dangerously overcrowded, and the war on drugs is mainly to blame. Over 50 percent of inmates currently in federal prison are there for drug offenses, according to an infographic recently released by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (see chart below). That percentage has risen fairly consistently over decades, all the way from 16 percent in 1970. The second-largest category, immigration-related crimes, accounts for 10.6 percent of inmates. This means that people convicted … [Read more...]

Weed More Likely Than Rape or Murder to Get an Undocumented Immigrant Detained

As with any policy shift, the gradual regulation of marijuana in the United States will have implications for a wide variety of populations. Indeed, the removal of marijuana from the criminal justice system has already started. However, like the recent shift in marriage policies to allow same sex marriage, the impact from a policy change can often be slow to reach the immigration community. This leaves this population in limbo, even after the rest of the country assumes change has … [Read more...]