Monday, November 07, 2005

Taking prohibition to task

Garrison Keillor has a nice op-ed making the rounds on the embarassment of "tough on drugs" policies. It's short, so read it all but here's the money quote.
The cruelty of the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 is stark indeed, as are the sentencing guidelines that impose mandatory minimum sentences for minor drug possession-guidelines in the 1986 Anti-Drug Abuse Act that sailed through Congress without benefit of public hearings, drafted before an election by Democrats afraid to be labeled "soft on drugs." As a result, a marijuana grower can land in prison for life without parole while a murderer might be in for eight years.

No rational person can defend this; it is a Dostoevskian nightmare and it exists only because politicians fled in the face of danger.

That includes Bill Clinton, under whose administration the prosecution of Americans for marijuana went up hugely, so that now there are more folks in prison for marijuana than for violent crimes. More than for manslaughter or rape. This only makes sense in the fantasy world of Washington, where perception counts for more than reality.
And the reality, as Keillor puts it, is a foul tragedy.

[hat tip to JackL]


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