Monday, October 18, 2004
Fighting the good fight in the Lone Star State

Grits for Breakfast moved into the daily check zone with this post on yet another drug task force atrocity.

The Dogwood Trails task force (what kind of name is that for a bunch of prohibition profiteers - it sounds like a conservation agency) allegedly broke up a crack cocaine ring and arrested 72 people. Now that would be impressive except, as Pete Guither figured out based on federal statistics, the crack market for the entire county is comprised of 165 people. We're talking about Texas here so I'm sure I don't have to tell you that all of the defendants are poor black folks.

Now math is not my strong suit, but what I'm reading here is that the Dogwood Trails task force would like you to believe that virtually half of the potential crack users in a small county in Texas are major drug dealers and that your tax dollars were well spent putting every single one of them in jail.

There's no numbers on the cost for the manpower on a two year investigation and the ensuing court costs, but with 72 defendants, you can bet it's at least in the high hundreds of thousands of your tax dollars. Drug WarRant meanwhile has figured out the incarceration costs of this case.

Most of the defendants are facing 40 years to life. Assuming the minimum, that's over $60 million to jail them (which would also pay for 4 years of college for every teenager in the county).

This would probably be an issue of more concern in Texas except that the money is going directly into the prison industry, which as Scott points out is " the largest employer in the area. (see the subhed, Healthcare, Prisons, and Water). Vocal, organized special interests like the correctional officers union and the drug task force, whose jobs depend on a steady flow of new people into the system, are unlikely to criticize such excesses."

Scott goes on to look at the social and practical costs of the operation. It's a bleak post but a great blog. Read it for yourself.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home