In The Sun article "New views about crime" (May 25) the writers failed to mention the Libertarian approach to the failed war on drugs. As the Libertarian candidate for attorney general, my main campaign theme is to end the drug war. The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world. We have more people in prison than Russia and China combined! At the same time we have the highest rate of drug usage in the world.
A definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect a different result. That describes the war on drugs, as we continue to incarcerate nonviolent drug offenders at the cost of nearly $40,000 a year for each inmate. The human toll must also be considered as these offenders will be branded for life. Future employment, educational opportunity, housing and many other areas will affect these individuals in a negative manner for the rest of their lives.
Career politicians who are concerned mainly with winning elections offer ridiculous solutions like Ban the Box, which would forbid prospective employers from viewing criminal records of applicants early on in the process. Instead of looking at our failed drug policy, they tinker on the edges when real change is needed. Nonviolent drug offenders who hurt no one but themselves belong in treatment facilities and not prisons. We spend so much on incarceration that there is little left over for drug treatment. Nationally about 10 percent of all addicts receive drug treatment in prison!
In 2000, Portugal was faced with a huge drug problem. Violence was out of control, prisons were filled, and the rate of drug usage was rising. Everything was decriminalized. Since then, violence has gone down, the rate of drug usage has declined along with the HIV infection rates and deaths by overdose. More people have sought treatment and the jail population is greatly reduced.
At the same time Singapore, which has the death penalty for drug crimes, has seen the usage rate rise over the same period!
During alcohol prohibition in the U.S., the crime rate went up. It wasn't the alcohol that caused the increase, it was prohibition. The effect of the drug war is the same. To reduce the violence and problems resulting from drug prohibition, we must take the profit incentive away. Only when drug dealers can no longer make a profit will drug dealing come to an end. We will always have our vices. Attempting to outlaw them causes more problems than the vices themselves. The current approach has failed miserably. We must look at why and see what we can do that will work. Check out my website (Vote4Leo.org) for more Libertarian solutions.
Leo Wayne Dymowski
The writer is the Libertarian candidate for attorney general.
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