Reason: Hit & Run: Jacob Sullum: Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Major Sentencing Reforms
This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger
I agree that this bill that the Senate Judiciary Committee doesn’t go far enough. I would decriminalize cocaine, heroin and meth. Not legalize them which is different, but my drug policy would be that if adults twenty-one and over are caught in possession of cocaine, heroin or meth, those drugs would immediately be stripped away from them. And they would pay a fine upon conviction based on how much the illegal narcotics are worth. And if they are caught selling these narcotics or smuggling them into the United States or producing them themselves to anyone, they would be arrested along with stripped of those narcotics. But at worst looking at jail time. Unless they are convicted of smuggling or producing narcotics in America. Or selling or giving them to minors.
What the Senate bill does instead is reduce the prison and jail time for people caught with these drugs. But they still are in prison and that is still the biggest problem with failed so-called War on Drugs. Is that it punishes people for what they do to themselves. And you could say sure if you are selling these narcotics to other people, you are hurting them as well. The problem with that is those people had a choice to purchase or not to purchase narcotics and then use them or not. So we are really at the core talking about punishing people for what they do to themselves instead.
The paternalists on the Right and Left will say that liberty can’t be allowing people to live their own lives, even if that means doing things that may be dangerous to themselves. Well one problem with that and there more problems with that, is the result of attempting to protect people from themselves for the betterment of society, is you end up hurting society because now you fill up your prisons with people are by in large are good people. And even productive people before prison or could’ve been very productive people before prison. But now they are in prison and would leave prison with criminal felony records. Making it very difficult for them to get a good job on the outside because of their felony conviction.
So the Senate bill is a very good start and I hope it passes in the Senate even if it is not improved. Good luck with the Neo-Con drug warriors in the House though. But it is just a first step and going further we need to get non-violent inmates who are not in prison for hurting anyone else. Physically, economically or anything else out of prison and either in drug rehab or halfway houses. And allow for them to move on with their lives and be productive citizens.
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