The War On Drugs Is A War On The Poor

1252 words - 5 pages

    
The “War on Drugs" has been so terribly ineffective that it leads one to question its true motives. Even a dog can eventually learn from an electric fence, so why not the United States government? Is the goal really to curtail drug use, or is it to segregate society and vilify the disadvantaged?

A combination of mandatory minimum sentencing and other unjust laws has led to an enormous rise in U.S. prison populations. Thanks to these laws, 60 percent of the federal prison population consisted of nonviolent drug offenders as of 1999. In 1997, about twice as many people were arrested for drug offenses as for violent crimes.

As a result, the U.S. incarceration rate is now six to ten times higher than in most industrialized countries. Indeed, in 2000 the U.S. surpassed Russia to become the nation with the highest incarceration rate worldwide. A side effect of this enormous boom in prison population has been an increase in spending on prison construction. Since it is mostly young college-age people who are ending up in these prisons, fiscal planners have found that the most logical place to acquire the funds needed for building prisons is higher education. Indeed, there has been a direct trade-off in spending: in 1995, federal funding for university construction dropped by $954 million to $2.5 billion, while federal funding for prison construction rose by $926 million to $2.6 billion. These numbers are huge. They reveal that in one year, the federal government reallocated more than a quarter of total spending for university construction toward prison construction.

The laws are unjust in other ways as well: they target minorities and the poor disproportionately while turning a blind eye to the rich. On paper, these laws may seem unbiased, but they tend to be enforced selectively. In 1995, the sentencing project reported that one out of every three black men in their twenties was under correctional supervision. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, African Americans comprise approximately 13 percent of the population and 13 percent of all drug users. Yet strangely enough, more than 55 percent of those convicted for drug offenses are African American. Indeed, the U.S. police and judicial forces in tandem maintain one of the oldest affirmative action policies in the country. This affirmative action policy ensures that a disproportionate number of blacks are convicted of drug crimes, despite the fact that their drug use is only average among the country as a whole.

According to Human Rights Watch, these drug laws violate international human rights treaties because they have the effect of restricting rights on the basis of race. Facing accusation of human rights violations from abroad, one would expect our government to make some effort to curb such discrimination. But instead an even more stringent and discriminatory drug law was introduced last year.

By the amendment to the Higher Education Act (HEA) of 1998, those...

Find Another Essay On The War on Drugs is a War on the Poor

The War on Drugs Essay

2969 words - 12 pages only way you can help yourself get better is by wanting to get better. If you are an addict if a drug and say your parents find out about it, the first thing they do it put you in rehab. And the first thing you want to do when you get out of rehab is to do exactly what you were doing when your parents found out, getting high. You yourself have to make an effort, or no good will come.The war on drugs is growing, and something incredible has to be

Is Legalization a Realistic Alternative to the War on Drugs?

4811 words - 19 pages there are more legalized drug users than illegal drug users. The data supplied by legalization proponents is not objective and is therefore preventative for one to draw a concrete conclusion.With many people criticizing the cost-effectiveness of the war on drugs, a question arises as to how legalization would affect funds used for programs involving drugs. As Dr. Jefferson Fish reports, billions of dollars are spent annually in the war on drugs

Stop the War on Drugs

1972 words - 8 pages our past, history is bound to repeat itself and it has.The War on Drugs has caused a major health problem. This problem is not one that you might think. The War on Drugs has led to an increase of AIDS/HIV in the United States. The United States bans drug paraphernalia like syringes. The drug user cannot buy new sterile syringes. Drug users sometimes share the syringes, which leads to a spread of diseases. Nearly a third of adult and over half of

The Failed War on Drugs

1342 words - 6 pages the ever increasing costs involved in a war that simply cannot be won in the traditional sense. While it is true that the War on Drugs as a policy is fundamentally broken, there is currently a trend towards new types of policies which could offer more effective solutions. The War on Drugs has created more problems than it has solved. While effectively filling our prisons over capacity, it does nothing to address the source of the problem leaving

Education is the Best Weapon in the War on Drugs

2639 words - 11 pages Education is the Best Weapon in the War on Drugs It seems that in the ongoing debate over whether to legalize drugs in the United States, quite a few people feel that legalization would diminish the crime rate. Their argument points out that the permissible use of marijuana would eliminate the necessity for people to go into hard drug territories to purchase such a drug and maybe

The War On Drugs in the USA

855 words - 3 pages arrested for drug offenses, and 59% if those convicted are Africa-Americans. The war on drugs is taking a toll on low-income, minority families, adding to the obstacles between them and economic success. A lot of poor youths turn to illegal drug use and the illegal drug trade because they are looking for a better life. If we use the money spent on fighting the illegal drug trade to educate these poor youths we would give

Underdeveloped Countries and the War on Drugs

3729 words - 15 pages organization, centered around the guerrilla groups, has become involved in narco trafficking. Drugs brought tremendous wealth to a country with poor economic distribution. Upon looking at the Colombian example, we can clearly see just why the War on Drugs is centered in third-world countries. This brings to light the fact that the United States must end the war on drugs. If we are to attempt to remove the drug trafficking without the

Economic Ramifications of the War on Drugs

969 words - 4 pages billions attempting to reduce the demand for illegal drugs through prohibition. The war on drugs has also driven the drug trade underground, creating a violent illicit market that caters to organized crime, gangs and drug cartels. It is these criminal enterprises have the most to gain financially from prohibition, and the profits can easily be funneled into gun smuggling, corruption, and additional bloodshed. The Mexican cartels’ brutal agenda

Economic Ramifications of the War on Drugs

1104 words - 5 pages billions attempting to reduce the demand for illegal drugs through prohibition. The war on drugs has also driven the drug trade underground, creating a violent illicit market that caters to organized crime, gangs and drug cartels. It is these criminal enterprises have the most to gain financially from prohibition, and the profits can easily be funneled into gun smuggling, corruption, and additional bloodshed. The Mexican cartels’ brutal agenda

Pablo Escobar and the War on drugs

4154 words - 17 pages military conquest of Latin America in favor of a peaceful conquest using capital and goods export ("Dollar-Imperialism").During the times of the East-West conflict, the drug problem was tolerated by the United States because the control of communism was the main target. Today, the war on drugs in the Andean countries is seen as a way to secure their influence. The "offer" to support those producer countries in the fight against drugs is nothing

Against the War On Drugs in America

3523 words - 14 pages prohibition in this paper. After giving a brief history of prohibition, I will show that it is wrong in principal and that there is no moral basis for this policy. I will then show that, regardless of moral considerations, prohibition has not and probably cannot work, and more specifically that the "war on drugs" has been a disaster which should be ended immediately. I will then conclude by discussing possible consequences of legalization. A Brief

Similar Essays

The War On Drugs Essay

581 words - 2 pages this war be won when the government has to spend so much money combating in opposition to it?? On top of the ridiculous cost of all the factors of the war, the availability of the illegal drugs complicates things even more. It is horrible news to hear or know that an eighth grade student can readily get a hold of drugs just as easy as a dealer. An eighth grader has the ability to obtain heroin or cocaine as effortless as he or she could

The War On Drugs Essay

1524 words - 6 pages . Crime prevention methods may not be immediate, but it is the most efficient and effective long-term. Not only is the war on drugs costly, it is also ineffective at reducing or eliminating trade and usage. The “War on Drugs” campaign has been unsuccessful in preventing the illegal drug trade. As a result, the campaign has managed to marginalize and impoverish the participating societies, causing social and economic harm. By pointing out the

The War On Drugs Essay

1794 words - 7 pages community itself. I wanted to know if the “war on drugs” stop our neighborhood from being flooded with drugs or it just over shadow the real problems that needs to be tackled. It is also very important for people to know about this topic because the issue is not only about drugs but also the growth of inequality between the rich and poor, black and white, upper class and lower class in this country. The war of drugs deals with issues about why they

The War On Drugs Essay

3377 words - 14 pages The War on Drugs To fully understand the significance and the seriousness of a War one must first fully understand the reasons that caused it in the first place. In this specific case the solution begins with several important yet seemingly simple questions…What is marijuana? How is it used? And why is it so coveted and widely distributed in Jamaica as well as the rest of the world?… All these questions help clarify the reasoning behind the