Sunday, December 30, 2007

Chipping at tough crack sentencing

Laws were ineffective and the drug's ravages overblown, experts say.

read more | digg story

We can learn a great deal about a society by studying "social artifacts" such as its legal code and its practices. The so-called "war on drugs" in U.S. society is a classic example.

The history of attempts to control drug usage is marked by specific polices targeting groups seen as threats to the community. The on-going controversy over crack cocaine is a continuation of this trend.

The war on drugs has been, and will continue to be, a dismal failure. Part of the problem is the approach. Crime, and especially drug crime, is a condition, not a problem. The criminal justice system frequently makes the condition worse. That is the sad history of drug enforcement. Analysis of the issue of crack cocaine sentencing policy reveals how inept the administration of the law has been.

What have we learned about our society from this latest installment of the war on crime/drugs? The issue of race has yet to recede from the administration of law. We also see just how bureaucratic and ideological the criminal justice system has become. Is our faith in the effectiveness and fairness of the legal system being destroyed by ineptness and ideology?

No comments: