The War On Drugs And Its Effects On The Economic, Political, And Social Aspects Of American Life

The War On Drugs And Its Effects On The Economic, Political, And Social Aspects Of American Life

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The criminal justice system has drastically changed because of the present war on drugs. The war on drugs has become too pricey and detrimental on the economic, political, and social aspects of American life. On the surface, the war on drugs is known as the campaign of the ongoing drug issues, from prohibition to intervention; a way to discourage distribution and consumption of drugs. However, beneath the surface, the war of drugs has been more destructive than helpful, there are huge disparities from arrests, to inequitable sentencing and incarceration. Although the end of the drug war is nearing; with the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington D.C., the harm-reduction approach towards heroin addiction; it is still problematic to those drug offenders who cannot catch a break in our legal system. The criminal justice system’s drug offenders are a massive building block toward America’s mass incarceration.
The pugnacious drug war, although it first started off as an attempt to control drug production and distribution, has negatively impacted the correctional system and the individuals going into the system. The drug law is “draconian,” it invokes mandatory minimum sentences that are brute and unreasonable to minor drug offenses that are most likely nonviolent. Nearly half of the population in the federal prison population are those convicted of drug offenses (Latessa & Holsinger, 2010, p. 386). Most of these crimes are nonviolent. There are numerous consequences to the ongoing forty year war. The drug policies are long-term and damaging effects of the law and mass incarceration. As noted by Harry Levine (1991), “…many dissenting intellectuals have called attention to the immense costs, numerous casualties, and uninte...


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...are often found too long in comparison to other crimes. In 2000, on an average of selected federal offenses, drug offenses received forty one months in prison, while violent crimes received fifty four months. However, fraudulent property crimes only received fifteen months. The average times served drug offenders are not off by much when compared to violent crimes, but serve more time than corrupt property crimes (Latessa & Holsinger, 2010, p. 388). Alexander quoted that people, more specifically, prison releasees cycle in and out of prison, and are trapped by their second-class status as an ex-convict, in which it is also described by Loic Wacquant as a “closed circuit of perpetual marginality” (Alexander, 2010, p. 56). Individuals are virtually stuck in the vicious cycle of the criminal justice system for eternity, whether they are in prison or out of prison.

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