“People are always trying to smuggle drugs in,” said Gretl Plessinger, spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Corrections. “Our ultimate goal is to get rid of it, but I’d be a fool to tell you that will ever be realized.”
[link to www.washingtontimes.com
So, how easy is it to get drugs in prison?
Drugs are easier to get inside prison than on the street – they just cost a lot more, says a 15-year inmate who testified Wednesday at the inquest into the death of prison activist Laurence Stocking.
[link to www.cbc.ca
Seems it's pretty easy.
So, we obviously have a problem here. Are there any other methods to combat drug use other than criminilization?
Portugal presents the most significant and successful example of a post-criminalization, health-centered drug policy. In 2001, Portuguese legislators decriminalized low-level drug possession and reclassified it as an administrative violation. The explicit aim of the policy shift was to adopt an approach to drugs based not on dogmatic moralism and prejudice but on science and evidence. At the heart of this policy change was the recognition that the criminalization of drug use was not justifiable and that it was actually a barrier to more effective responses to drug use. Every objective analysis has clearly demonstrated that Portugal has drastically decreased its rates of violent crime, addiction, and disease transmission since reforming its drug laws.
[link to www.drugpolicy.org
Other countries have successful drug programs that don't revolve around criminilization. So, why can't something similiar to Portugal's drug program work here?
Is it because we need workers in our prisons?
To be profitable, private prison firms must ensure that prisons are not only built but also filled. Industry experts say a 90-95 per cent capacity rate is needed to guarantee the hefty rates of return needed to lure investors. Prudential Securities issued a wildly bullish report on CCA a few years ago but cautioned, "It takes time to bring inmate population levels up to where they cover costs. Low occupancy is a drag on profits." Still, said the report, company earnings would be strong if CCA succeeded in ramp(ing) up population levels in its new facilities at an acceptable rate".
[link to www.apfn.org
Could the war on drugs be used to keep our prison populations full? And in turn keep the profits high of corporations that own said prisons? Could be.
Lastly, i'll post some statistics about the war on drugs that may or may not surprise you.
Amount spent annually in the U.S. on the war on drugs: More than $51,000,000,000
Number of people arrested in 2010 in the U.S. on nonviolent drug charges: 1,638,846
Number of people arrested for a marijuana law violation in 2010: 853,838
■ Number of those charged with marijuana law violations who were arrested for possession only: 750,591 (88 percent)
Number of Americans incarcerated in 2009 in federal, state and local prisons and jails: 2,424,279 or 1 in every 99.1 adults, the highest incarceration rate in the world
Fraction of people incarcerated for a drug offense in state prison that are black or Hispanic, although these groups use and sell drugs at similar rates as whites: 2/3
Number of states that allow the medical use of marijuana: 16 + District of Columbia
Estimated annual revenue that California would raise if it taxed and regulated the sale of marijuana: $1,400,000,000
Number of murders in 2010 in Juarez, Mexico, the epicenter of that country’s drug war: 3,111, the highest murder rate of any city in the world
Number of students who have lost federal financial aid eligibility because of a drug conviction: 200,000+
Number of people in the U.S. that died from an accidental drug overdose in 2007: 27,658
Number of people annually infected with HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C by sharing contaminated syringes: 32,000
Tax revenue that drug legalization would yield annually, if currently-illegal drugs were taxed at rates comparable to those on alcohol and tobacco: $46.7 billion
[link to www.drugpolicy.org