Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Racial Shift in Drug-Crime Prisoners

For the first time since crack cocaine sparked a war on drugs 20 years ago, the number of black Americans in state prisons for drug offenses has fallen sharply, while the number of white prisoners convicted for drug crimes has increased, according to a report released yesterday.


While the news that the number of blacks imprisoned for drug offenses has declined is welcome, the rest of the report suggests that this progress has come at a price. Instead of working to reduce the total number of inmates incarcerated for drug offenses, we see that more whites are being incarcerated as enforcement policies shift from crack cocaine to meth.

When will our elected leaders and policy makers realize that our current drug policies are making matters worse here and in places like Mexico and South America? It is past time to enact true reform, which must include more opportunities for treatment.

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