Saturday, July 07, 2012

Chart of the Day: Federal Drug Prisoners

The chart above shows the breakdown of the current federal inmate population by type of offense, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.  There are currently 93,876 Americans serving time in federal prisons for drug crimes, which is by far the No. 1 offense that results in a federal jail sentence (see chart).  Drug offenders make up almost half of our federal inmate population, and that help explains why the U.S. retains the status as the World's No.1  Jailer with a prison population of 730 per 100,000 population, more than even any of the world's most notorious and oppressive regimes like Burma (120 per 100,000 population), Cuba (510 per 100,000 population), and Iran (333 per 100,000).

Besides the fact that federal drug prisoners far outnumber any other category of criminal offenders, there is another important characteristic that distinguishes drug offenses from other federal crimes like arson, extortion, robbery, burglary, homicide, and embezzlement - almost all of those other crimes have identifiable victims who have been clearly victimized, e.g. robbed, assaulted, murdered, etc.  In contrast, drug offenders were mostly involved in "crimes" that frequently had no identifiable victim, i.e. crimes without a victim, or "victimless crimes."   Hopefully, future generations of more enlightened Americans and political leaders will look back on the War on Drugs as a shameful chapter of U.S. history and a blemish on America's long tradition of individual liberty and limited government.  

54 Comments:

At 7/07/2012 5:09 PM, Blogger Dave said...

Keeps the COPS & GUARDS looking important. D

 
At 7/07/2012 6:25 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

well there IS an alternative to prison:

List of countries with the death penalty for illegal drugs

Afghanistan
Bangladesh
Brunei
China
Egypt
Indonesia
Iran
Iraq
Kuwait
Laos
Malaysia
Oman
Pakistan
Saudi Arabia
Singapore
Somalia
Sri Lanka
Taiwan
Thailand
Vietnam
United Arab Emirates
Zimbabwe

just saying.....

 
At 7/07/2012 6:38 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

of course, this is just federal.

those in state, county, etc on drug charges are several multiples of this.

"At the end of 2010, about 7.1 million people, or one in 33 adults, were either in prison or on probation or parole. About 1.4 million were in state prisons, 200,000 in federal prison, and 700,000 in jail, for a total imprisoned population of about 2.3 million. Nearly 4.9 million people were on probation or parole."

there are nearly 2 million drug arrests in the US annually.

the war on drugs is staggeringly expensive and destroys millions and millions of lives and buys us nothing.

 
At 7/07/2012 6:38 PM, Blogger PFCT said...

How you possibly say that it's a victimless crime? Have you never spoken to folks who know a loved one who died from such drugs?

 
At 7/07/2012 6:51 PM, Blogger Itchy said...

How you possibly say that it's a victimless crime? Have you never spoken to folks who know a loved one who died from such drugs?

It's a tragedy on a personal level, but I don't see why that requires everyone else to pay their room in board for a few years.

 
At 7/07/2012 7:05 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

US crime rate at lowest point in decades.
January 9, 2012

The last time the crime rate for serious crime – murder, rape, robbery, assault – fell to these levels, gasoline cost 29 cents a gallon and the average income for a working American was $5,807. That was 1963.

In the past 20 years, for instance, the murder rate in the United States has dropped by almost half...Meanwhile, robberies were down 10 percent in 2010 from the year before and 8 percent in 2009.

The declines are not just a blip, say criminologists. Rather, they are the result of a host of changes that have fundamentally reversed the high-crime trends of the 1980s.

James Alan Fox, a criminologist at Northeastern University in Boston. "We are indeed a safer nation than 20 years ago."

He and others give four main reasons for the decline:

*Increased incarceration, including longer sentences, that keeps more criminals off the streets.

*Improved law enforcement strategies, including advances in computer analysis and innovative technology.

*The waning of the crack cocaine epidemic that soared from 1984 to 1990, which made cocaine cheaply available in cities across the US.

*The graying of America characterized by the fastest-growing segment of the US population – baby boomers – passing the age of 50.

 
At 7/07/2012 7:22 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Are those federal drug prisoners in jail for an ounce or a ton of marijuana?

The War on Drugs has reduced both the supply and demand for drugs.

We should praise U.S. law enforcement for putting the right people in jail.

 
At 7/07/2012 8:10 PM, Blogger Pulverized Concepts said...

"As Chicago residents face a murder rate that, thus far this year, is worse than U.S. troops in Afghanistan, the Chicago Police Department has assigned at least 100 officers to secure the wedding of White House advisor Valerie Jarrett's daughter."
_________________

May 10, 2012 "Detroit— The city's body count continues to rise, with at least five homicides reported since Tuesday — and that doesn't include a homeowner who killed an alleged intruder and accidentally shot his wife."

From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20120510/METRO01/205100459#ixzz1zzCDm35R
_______________

"Houston crime including murder, robbery, burglary and auto theft rose during the first three months of the year, counter to a dramatic reduction in violent crime in recent years, police statistics reveal.

From January through March, five of the seven major crime categories increased compared to the same period in 2011, according to Houston Police Department statistics released Thursday.

Among the types of violent crime, murders increased 27 percent, robberies jumped 26 percent and aggravated assaults inched up 3 percent in the first quarter of this year compared to last year."
____________________

A 'Cultural Problem' Of Violence

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu plops a 5-inch-thick notebook on his desk. It contains details on each of the city's 199 murders last year.

In 2012, there have already been nearly 90 killings.

"This is a deeply seated cultural problem," Landrieu says. "Some people have learned how to settle their differences that otherwise used to be settled though nasty words, or a fistfight, by the use of a gun that results in an immediate death."
_______________

"With a crime rate of 93 per one thousand residents, Little Rock has one of the highest crime rates in America compared to all communities of all sizes - from the smallest towns to the very largest cities. One's chance of becoming a victim of either violent or property crime here is one in 11."
____________________

Oct., 2011 "MEMPHIS, TN -
(WMC-TV) - New statistics show that Memphis' 2011 murder rate is on track to be higher than last year, but Memphis police say those numbers don't tell the whole story.

Through Tuesday, Memphis police have worked 28 more homicide cases this year, compared to 2010. Though the murder rate is on the rise, Lt. Mark Miller, who runs the Memphis Police Department's Homicide Bureau, claims there is no rational explanation."

 
At 7/07/2012 8:23 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Has the War on Drugs reduced crime?

"Over 95% of state prisoners are violent and repeat criminals. Under one-tenth of one per cent of inmates are non-violent, first time marijuana offenders.

Most state drug prisoners are traffickers or repeat and/or violent offenders.

A federal marijuana inmate was involved with 3.5 tons of the drug on average; a crack offender averaged 18,000 doses.

Federal agencies have almost no jurisdiction over violent street crime; that is why most federal cases involve major cocaine and heroin drug traffickers."

 
At 7/07/2012 8:29 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

peak-

demand is not down. that's just demographics. it's soaring amongst the young.

" * The Partnership at Drugfree.org
* Join Together

‹ Back
National Study: Teen “Heavy” Marijuana Use Up 80 Percent Since 2008, One in Ten Teens Reports Using Marijuana at Least 20 Times a Month
By Cassie Goldberg | May 1, 2012 | 11 Comments | Filed in News Releases

Only Half of Teens, 51 Percent, Now Say They See “Great Risk” in Using Marijuana Regularly

~Teen Abuse of Rx and Over-The-Counter Medicines Remain at Dangerous Levels~


New York, NY – May 2, 2012 – New, nationally projectable survey results released today by The Partnership at Drugfree.org and MetLife Foundation found that past-month marijuana use – particularly heavy use – has increased significantly among U.S. high school students since 2008. [READ FULL REPORT HERE]

The Partnership Attitude Tracking Study, sponsored by MetLife Foundation, found that 9 percent of teens (nearly 1.5 million) smoked marijuana heavily (at least 20 times) in the past month. Overall, past-month heavy marijuana use is up 80 percent among U.S. teens since 2008.

Concerning Trends in Teen Marijuana Use According to the New PATS Data (2008-2011)

* Past-month use is up 42 percent (up from 19 percent in 2008 to 27 percent in 2011, which translates to about 4 million teens).
* Past-year use is up 26 percent (up from 31 percent in 2008 to 39 percent in 2011, which translates to about 6 million teens).
* Lifetime use is up 21 percent (up from 39 percent in 2008 to 47 percent in 2011, which translates to nearly 8 million teens).

This marks an upward trend in teen marijuana use over the past three years. The last time marijuana use was this widespread among teens was in 1998 when past month use of marijuana was at 27 percent."

"Nearly one in 10 Americans report regularly using illegal drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants or prescription drugs used recreationally, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health made public today. The survey, sponsored by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), collects the data from interviews with 67,500 randomly selected people 12 years or older.

Marijuana, with 17.4 million regular users, is by far the most commonly used drug. Its popularity is growing: 6.9% of the population reported using marijuana regularly, up from 5.8% in 2007. Among 12- to 17-year-olds, 7.4% reported having used marijuana in the past month, about the same as last year."

in Portugal, it has dropped by HALF in the decade since decriminalization.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2011/07/05/ten-years-after-decriminalization-drug-abuse-down-by-half-in-portugal/

treatment works. jails don't.

 
At 7/07/2012 8:33 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

"How you possibly say that it's a victimless crime? Have you never spoken to folks who know a loved one who died from such drugs?"

oh, you mean like rock climbing, hang gliding, drinking, smoking, and being obese?

shall we make everything that can end badly a crime?

there are a million ways to die tragically, but they are not crimes.

if you do not violate the rights of another, it is no crime.

 
At 7/07/2012 8:40 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

THE EDUCATOR - Spring 1998
Drug Enforcement Works

"Strong drug enforcement in the United States is correlated with dramatic reductions in crime, drug use, and drug addiction rates.

Drug arrest rates are not an accurate measure of how tough the nation is on drugs.

There are three times as many alcohol related arrests than drug arrests. Is alcohol policy three times tougher than drug policy? If we legalize drugs, we may triple the number of drug arrests.

Permissive drug policy was an abject failure in the U.S.

A drug criminal was four times more likely to serve prison time in 1960 than in 1980 and the incarceration rate plummeted 79 percent.

This drug-tolerant era brought a doubling of the murder rate, a 230% increase in burglaries, a ten-fold increase in teen drug use, and a 900% rise in addiction rates.

From 1980-1997...incarceration rate rose over four-fold and crime and drug use began a steady, unprecedented decline,

Murder rates fell by over 25 percent, burglary rates dropped 41 percent, teen drug use reduced by more than a third, and heavy cocaine and heroin use levels fell.

With peak drug incarceration rates, many cities such as New York, reached record low crime levels."

 
At 7/07/2012 9:13 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

The Economics of Drug Legalization - 1995

"Proponents of legalization suggest that their policy will save society money...First, we will not have to pay police to enforce the present criminal-justice approach to drug usage. Second, we will be able to tax legal drugs, thereby raising revenue.

The FY 1994 federal budget allocates $7.51 billion for drug control (supply reduction) which includes criminal justice, interdiction, international programs and intelligence. State and local governments spend even more, $12.6 billion a year.

The total revenue collected from alcohol taxes at the federal, state, and local levels amounts to about $13.1 billion a year, a paltry sum compared to the social costs associated with alcohol consumption.

Treating drug addicts is enormously expensive. Take crack babies as an example. In 1988, it cost $2.5 billion for the intensive care needed to keep the babies alive after birth.

But that was just the beginning of the expenses. It is estimated that it will cost $15 billion to prepare these children for kindergarten, and will then cost between $6 billion and $12 billion for every year of special learning programs.

Even assuming the low-ball figure, the social costs of educating all of the crack babies born in 1988 - not all crack babies, mind you, just those born that year - will run approximately $90 billion by the time they graduate from high school.

Already, drug addicts cost the country roughly $33 billion dollars a year in lost productivity and job-related accidents, according to a study conducted in 1987 by the Research Triangle Institute of Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.

If legalized, addiction rates would increase and the cost would rise to between $140 billion and $210 billion a year. And who will pay for lost productivity and job-related accidents? Consumers will, of course, in the final costs of the produced goods.

We spend approximately $20 billion a year on drug control activities. If drugs were legalized, we would see an increase in addiction rates.

Consequently we would have more crack babies (the kind that already will cost the system $90 billion), decreased productivity (at a cost of between $140 billion and $210 billion), more job-related accidents, and more dead people.

And given the potential black market effect, it is unlikely that we could raise even several billion dollars in tax revenue.

From a purely economic standpoint, legalization is not cost effective."

 
At 7/07/2012 9:31 PM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

How you possibly say that it's a victimless crime? Have you never spoken to folks who know a loved one who died from such drugs?

How you possibly say that ALCOHOL is a victimless crime? Have you never spoken to the thousands of folks/victims who know a loved one who died from such drugs, i.e. at the hands of a drunk driver?

 
At 7/07/2012 9:49 PM, Blogger hancke said...

Federal prisoners are not users but instead smugglers and dealers usually put there by Treasury or DEA agents.

 
At 7/07/2012 10:15 PM, Blogger hancke said...

Federal prisoners are not the "victimless" users of marijuana. They are typically smugglers and dealers put there by Treasury and DEA agents.

 
At 7/07/2012 10:20 PM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

Adult Users A, B and C voluntarily purchase weeds that naturally grow on Farmer A's property, to use in the privacy of their homes. Farmer A gets arrested and put in a cage in a federal prison. Who is the victim? Certainly not A, B or C.

 
At 7/07/2012 10:28 PM, Blogger hancke said...

That assumes all drug arrests are for weed. What about hard drugs? It also assumes marijuana is truly harmless. Is it more or less harmful as tobacco second hand smoke to infants and children?

 
At 7/07/2012 11:01 PM, OpenID Sprewell said...

hancke, what about hard drugs? How are the users in Mark's example "victims" if they chose to use those hard drugs? I can tell you who is the victim when you make drugs illegal, all the people who are put in jail unnecessarily and all those hurt by the resulting violence from the drug gangs which naturally rise up to meet demand, including the innocent bystanders.

I don't get your point about second-hand smoke: are you proposing criminalizing tobacco also, merely because of potential second-hand smoke effects on kids? The claims of deleterious effects of second-hand smoke are widely considered to be BS, trumped up to put smokers out on the streets. While I don't smoke and don't like the smell, I certainly wouldn't give the govt the power to force establishments to go smoke-free.

 
At 7/07/2012 11:44 PM, Blogger hancke said...

First missed point, it's not users that are in Federal Prisons. Second missed point, I was referring to the effects of marijuana second hand smoke on infants and children in the household. If you have truly known any addicts of hard drugs you would know society and taxpayers are victims of hard drugs. Victims of hard drugs are also those that die from their use. That's one thing pot has going for it.

 
At 7/07/2012 11:55 PM, Blogger hancke said...

Obviously hard drugs are addictive and affect more than just the user. Society and taxpayers suffer. If you have ever known a person addicted to hard drugs you would understand that.

I was referring to second hand marijuana smoke effects on infants and children in a household.

 
At 7/08/2012 12:28 AM, OpenID Sprewell said...

hancke, as morganovich notes above, "rock climbing, hang gliding, drinking, smoking, and being obese" can also be considered "addictive and affect more than just the user:" so what? The point is that the person chooses those activities and it is not our responsibility to save them from themselves or their family from potential problems. Taxpayers suffer far more from the current war on drugs, which do little to stem drug use, while amping up the violence. The vast majority of people who try hard drugs never get addicted. Why is it our responsibility to police the few who do? Should we outlaw all gambling and alcohol also because a few get addicted?

Yes, I know you were referring to the effects of second-hand smoke from weed. I was referring to your comparison with second-hand smoke from tobacco: why is that the standard? Do you believe that second-hand smoke from tobacco is not harmful, so if weed is the same, it should also be legal? Or do you believe that second-hand smoke from tobacco is harmful and should therefore also be illegal? I'm just following your logic to its conclusions.

 
At 7/08/2012 7:04 AM, Blogger Jamie Waller said...

The problem with data and it's misuse -

The people in prison for "drug" crimes is one thing. How many of them are angels or otherwise normal citizens. The answer is none. If you released the best behaved nicest 98% of this population, what would their behaviour be?

Nobody - nobody - is incarcerated for more than a year for marijuana alone. 98% of this romanticized population are BAD people. Spend some time with them and get to know them. You'll find they arre BAD people who are in prison for a drug charge, but they are criminals who manifest anti-social criminal behaviour in all aspects of their lives.

Release them from prison and invite them to live in your neighborhood and date your daughter.

The data is accurate in so far as it goes. Yes it is a shame to have such large prison populations. Why don't you spend time and volunteer and get to know them and then tell us what wonderful non-criminal people they are.

My point is that it is naive to look at this data and suggest that drug laws and resultant incarceration are the main problem. The real problem is BAD people with big problems.
Al Capone went to jail for tax evasion. He was a BAD man. He went to jail on the only charge that a civil society could pin on him. These drug criminals likewise are in jail for the best or only charge society could use to incarcerate these lifelong criminals.

As for pot smoking libertarian Academics. Please spend some time in the real world. Volunteer four hours a week at a Federal Prison with the normal prisoners. Not the top 1% using the library and pursuing education. You'll find that the people in that category are better kept off the streets!

 
At 7/08/2012 7:27 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

well..the problem is we put young offenders in prison with hardened criminals who then "teach" them how to step up their "skills"..

and the other thing is that we DO RELEASE them back into society and when we do, if they were not already, they are now damaged goods in terms of getting a job.

That means that they will then receive entitlements - free medical care, free housing vouchers, free food stamps, free unemployment benefits, etc.

I would differentiate in what I call "bad".

A guy that assaults others, has murdered, raped, etc is a clear danger to the safety of the innocent and even then, we release them.

A person who sells drugs -where the govt has set almost minuscule standards for how much constitutes "distribution" - does bring young people into the criminal justice system and perhaps a better criteria is to look at what kind of criminal activity they engaged in before put in prison the first time and what kinds of criminal activity they engaged in after 'graduation'.

It just seems to me that some people who are put in prison are low-level petty dealers who are not violent but after we put them in prison with stone-cold killers and rapists, and then RELEASE them after having lived with killers/rapists is basically a machine for creating more killers and violent prone criminals.

just my view.

 
At 7/08/2012 8:18 AM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

Keep in mind that simple economics tells us that "the stronger the drug laws, the stronger the drugs." One of the reasons we have strong drugs like crack cocaine and heroin is BECAUSE of strong drug laws. When drugs are outlawed, there are incentives to produce more concentrated and potent forms of the drugs, for smuggling purposes and to get the "biggest bang for the buck."

Years ago, the drug of choice for many was opium. When that was outlawed, there was an incentive to produce stronger drugs from opium like morphine and heroin. Strong drug laws also created the market for crack cocaine. In the absence of strong drug laws, there wouldn't be incentives to create the most potent drugs possible.

And also keep in mind that we can't even keep drugs out of federal and state prisons, so the idea that a War on Drugs will someday keeps drugs out of the U.S. is total nitwitery.

 
At 7/08/2012 8:30 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

" "the stronger the drug laws, the stronger the drugs."

at first blush that sorta makes sense... but then at second thought... it does not - necessarily make sense.

I don't think people look for "stronger" as much as they look for comparable alternatives....

Meth and Oxycontin (and other prescription drugs) seem to have become "alternatives" to cocaine and heroin.....

no?

One of the big differences also is that people on the lower economic rungs, their drug use gets far more govt "attention" than those on the upper economic rungs who have less vulnerable access to drugs and even when caught - almost never get the same kind of prison sentences as those who are not as affluent.

that's a huge disparate disproportionate impact where some segments of society pay a much higher price for their illegal activities than others.

If we had a system where the affluent got equally harsh treatment, chances are the laws would be changed as those with wealth and power saw family members go to prison - and as a consequence worked against "unfair" laws!

:-)

 
At 7/08/2012 8:39 AM, Blogger Pulverized Concepts said...

98% of this romanticized population are BAD people. Spend some time with them and get to know them. You'll find they arre BAD people who are in prison for a drug charge, but they are criminals who manifest anti-social criminal behaviour in all aspects of their lives.


So in order to get these anti-socials off the street we pass legislation that we know they'll violate so we can arrest and convict them and then lock them up. It's unnecessary to convict them for burglary or auto theft if we can get them for dealing marijuana. The real problem in what passes for civilization is that folks that are offended by the anti-social or even criminal behavior of others are too gutless to stand up for themselves and do anything about it. Instead, they franchise the state to hire armed thugs to do the job, hoping these licensed criminals won't skim too much from the ostensibly normal citizens. That way they can pat themselves on the back for standing up for "law and order" while ignoring the incredible financial and moral toll that the law enforcement, judicial and penal communities exact on society.

 
At 7/08/2012 8:42 AM, Blogger Nicolas Martin said...

MIlton Friedman constructed a chart reflecting a doubling of the national homicide rate due to state and federal alcohol prohibition. After ratification of the 21st Amendment, the murder rate fell to the pre-Prohibition level. The chart also shows the rise in crime and prisoners as drug prohibition escalated in the 1960s.

http://tinyurl.com/cqxve29

The US has controlled the prohibition-induced crime rate in recent decades by becoming Prison Nation.

Another measure of America's intolerance is its legal drinking age. Few countries set an advanced age of 21, and those that do are largely socially repressive theocracies, mostly Muslim.

http://tinyurl.com/2e43wy

 
At 7/08/2012 8:50 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

If illegal drugs were legal, producers would not only expend more resources for new and more powerful drugs, they'll offer more choices for consumers, in the biggest consumer-driven market in the world.

Like tobacco, you can buy filter, non-filter, lights, ultra-lights, menthol, etc. Producers will want the biggest bang for the buck to maximize profit.

 
At 7/08/2012 9:03 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Nicolas, U.S. monetary policy is also more effective than the 1920s and 1930s.

 
At 7/08/2012 9:11 AM, Blogger hancke said...

Mr. Perry, That is an interesting point on the economics of drugs being driven by supply incentives or user demand for new and different or even cheaper highs. Perhaps potency is actually driven by the need to smuggle a more compact product as you state. Are there consumer psychological drivers unique to drugs that do not exist in other markets? Would a free market decrease use or addiction?

 
At 7/08/2012 9:18 AM, Blogger PFCT said...

morganovich said...

"How you possibly say that it's a victimless crime? Have you never spoken to folks who know a loved one who died from such drugs?"

oh, you mean like rock climbing, hang gliding, drinking, smoking, and being obese?

shall we make everything that can end badly a crime?

there are a million ways to die tragically, but they are not crimes.

if you do not violate the rights of another, it is no crime.

YOU COMPLETELY MISSED THE RELEVANT POINT. Drug dealers corrupt others and get them addicted which leads to their death.

 
At 7/08/2012 9:26 AM, Blogger hancke said...

@Sprewell- I would acccept the argument for free choice if people were truly accountable and responsible for their choices. We know that is far from reality in this country.

I posed the question of tobacco smoke since many children are exposed by proximity as they would if pot were legalized and used as casually as tobacco in the home or auto. More or less harmful? Some studies indicate pot is more harmful. I suspect there are other ill effects to a childs development from daily exposure since pot is a hallucinogen.

 
At 7/08/2012 9:32 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

PFCT, Morganovich and his sidekick Methinks not only believe rock climbing and smoking pot are similar activities, they also believe slavery (for some) is the same as illegal drugs (for all), when speed limits aren't enforced, drivers won't drive faster, legalizing crack cocaine won't lead to more crack babies, etc.

 
At 7/08/2012 9:35 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

I think, Morganovich and Methinks are both from Europe?

 
At 7/08/2012 10:11 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

re: prohibition

what prohibition of alcohol seemed to do was push it into first into petty street sellers and speak-easy's but then as the cops got more adept at getting the low hanging fruit - it got pushed into criminal enterprises than then added other illegal activities to their game - including drugs.

so we ended up with the large criminal enterprises that are hardly every touched with law enforcement.

LE gets at some of their tentacles and sometimes gets the center but others just spring up and replicate the same large enterprise structure.

So perhaps a question. Do these large criminal enterprises operate in the same scope and size in countries that have decriminalized drugs?

The "mob" seemed to HOP from alcohol to gambling to drugs to prostitution once alcohol become more easily available.

Little noticed is that the states and the Fed ...ALSO decriminalized the "numbers racket" essentially taking that kind of gambling away form the criminal enterprises.

so that focused them more and more on the things that were still "illegal".

Even today, we get gambling arguments similar to the drug argument in terms of people being "harmed".

right?

 
At 7/08/2012 10:19 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

peak-

those are old studies. the data has turned in the US and is rising again despite the tougher laws, especially among the young. try looking that the last 5 years. instead of at 15-20 year old data.

 
At 7/08/2012 10:37 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

peak-

no. i was born and raised in Connecticut.

"PFCT, Morganovich and his sidekick Methinks not only believe rock climbing and smoking pot are similar activities, they also believe slavery (for some) is the same as illegal drugs (for all), when speed limits aren't enforced, drivers won't drive faster, legalizing crack cocaine won't lead to more crack babies, etc."

and this is just absurd. that is not what we said at all.

you seem unable to think in abstract terms and you already lost that rights issue around slavery.

to remind you:

"you are missing the whole argument here because you are looking at it from the wrong side.

we all have inalienable rights. this fact is affirmed in our constitution. these rights do not derive from our government's forbearance, they derive from our person-hood.

thus, saying that a law applies equally to all is not a valid standard.

we could pass a law that said that all americans must provide 10 unpaid hours of labor to the government every week. that would apply equally to all, but, i hope, you would find that to be a violation of your rights. by your logic, slavery is OK so long as it apples to all of us.

the drugs laws are precisely the same.

you do not seem to be establishing any consistent standard here.

you seek to take away liberty from those who have harmed no one to get at the small percentage that do.

we could use that logic to take away guns, cars, and potato chips."

you have provided no response to this.

you seek to impose totalitarian social engineering upon the society to cure what you view to be ills. the whole of your argument is "bad things happen if people use drugs, so ban drugs". you ignore completely that fact that drug use dropped by nearly 1/2 in portugal post decriminalization then bluster that their increased homicide rate is a sign of failure. how can drugs dropping up homicide if they cause crime as you claim? your argument is completely inconsistent.

worse, you seek to impose totalitarian social restrictions based on what people MIGHT do. allowing cars will cause innocent children to be run over in the street every year. that's certain. shall we ban them? why no? because each individual user is unlikely to do that and it is not just to punish him for what might happen. law and rights take place at the individual level.

you have to apply them there. you seek to use a guilty until proven innocent standard and ban drugs (which were legal for most if US history) entirely because of a small number of individuals.

lost in this is that 99.9% of people who smoke pot manage not to hold up a liquor store.

drinking alcohol massively increases wife and child beating and automotive deaths. shall we punish all the innocent there and ban booze?

eating friend chicken increases obesity and health costs and family tragedy from early death. shall we ban that?

we spend tons of money every year saving hikers and boaters than are in trouble. many die. so now no one should be allowed to go?

you seem unable to see that the logical extension of your policy is absurd, thus, your policy is absurd.

drugs laws are a curtailment of natural rights.

they costs far more than they save in cash and in human misery.

and, they flat out do not work.

our youth usage is soaring and is at MUCH higher levels than countries like holland or portugal.

portugal's rates are dropping.

this war is unjust and ineffective.

i note you are silent on prohibition. is that because you realize your views there are inconsistent with your views here?

 
At 7/08/2012 10:44 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

jamie-

"
Nobody - nobody - is incarcerated for more than a year for marijuana alone."

this is extremely disingenuous.

first off, it's not true.

http://www.getsmartaboutdrugs.com/identify/what_are_the_penalties_for_possession_or_marijuana.html

felony possession can get you a decade and far more in a 3 strikes state.

second, you have deliberately chose the drug with most lenient sentencing. (and ignored the wildly unconstitutional asset seizure aspect).

you can get 5 years for a single tablet of extacy.

drugs like meth and crack have outlandish mandatory sentencing and count as 10X their amounts as compared to cocaine. eg 2 grams = 20.

"The latest salvo fired by the federal government in the war on drugs is the attachment of Senate Bill 2024 to the Omnibus Appropriations package. Senate Bill 2024 increases methamphetamine sentencing to the same as crack cocaine: 5 grams meth will bring a mandatory sentence of 5 years and 50 grams meth has a mandatory sentence of 10 years.

Despite opposition from other Senators, most notably Senator John Chafee (R-RI), Senator John Ashcroft (R-MO) tucked provisions of S. 2024 into the Omnibus package at the last minute.

This measure will impact the low-level methamphetamine offenders and mere possession can result in a long prison sentence. The measure will bring more prison overcrowding, more destruction of lives and cost the taxpayers dearly. "

so your claims are both untrue and misleading.

 
At 7/08/2012 10:52 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

"
YOU COMPLETELY MISSED THE RELEVANT POINT. Drug dealers corrupt others and get them addicted which leads to their death"

no, i think you did.

this is reefer madness nonsense and a failure to take personal responsibility.

ooh, it was drug dealer's fault, not my loved one? seriously?

why, it's a wonder anyone escape their wily snares.

you seem to have done so. how was that?

the drug deal is not responsible for your addition and more than a liquor store causes alcoholism or a rock climbing teacher makes rock climbing addicts.

lots of things are potentially addictive, but it is people who get addicted. it's a choice and one that can be changed. dealers do not "get you addicted" YOU get you addicted.

you sounds like one of these folks who blame all bad things on someone else.

mommy didn't hold em enough. foreigners took my job. drug dealers got my sister addicted.

life is about personal responsibility, not about blaming others for one's own failings and seeking to use the force of law against them for participating in a voluntary and mutually agreed transaction.

if the drug dealer holds you at gunpoint and makes you buy drugs, well, that would be one thing, but merely offering to sell you some and having you say yes is not "corruption" it's called a transaction. does burger king corrupt the obese?

 
At 7/08/2012 11:06 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

"As for pot smoking libertarian Academics. Please spend some time in the real world. Volunteer four hours a week at a Federal Prison with the normal prisoners. Not the top 1% using the library and pursuing education. You'll find that the people in that category are better kept off the streets!"

what a scary little tyrant you are.

so, to get these people who you claim will commit violent crime of the streets, we should make up a new crime and bust them for it? if they are such die hard criminals, can't we arrest hem for come violent crime or theft etc that IS a clear right violation?

you sound like the gestapo. who care how we arrest them, just arrest them! that's ends justifies the means thinking which is antithetical to rights and to liberty.

it also punishes the innocent and takes away their liberty.

surely you must concede that some people use drugs and do not harm others. some of them get arrested and jailed. why? how does this fit into your grand social plan? why punish those who do behave well to get a t a few that, according to you, we already have lots of reasons (and therefore ways) to punish?

 
At 7/08/2012 11:08 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

oh, and FWIW, i am neither an academic nor a pot smoker. i just think people have the right to be either or both.

 
At 7/08/2012 11:21 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

" i am neither an academic nor a pot smoker."

so, let's cut to the chase. have you EVER inhaled?

:-)

 
At 7/08/2012 11:24 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

larry-

if i had, why on earth would i admit to a crime on a public blog?

 
At 7/08/2012 11:28 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

re: grams. It's easy to get lost in the weeds on this (literally).

There are 28 grams in an ounce.

A typical spice jar is about 2.5 ounces or well over 60 grams.

That amount of "illegal" drug will get you charged with distribution like you were a big time drug king pin even if there was no proof you were selling - the amount that you hold automatically convicts you of selling it.

The real "distributors" handle kilos but they are much, much harder to catch so the vast majority of those in prison for "distribution" are there for far less than a kilo in their possession.

How many people would NOT be in prison if "possession" was a kilo or more?

right now the distinction between "use" and "distribution" is a perversion.

 
At 7/08/2012 11:29 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"YOU COMPLETELY MISSED THE RELEVANT POINT. Drug dealers corrupt others and get them addicted which leads to their death."

YOU COMPLETELY MISSED THE RELEVANT POINT. Rock climbers corrupt others and get them addicted which leads to their death.

 
At 7/08/2012 11:43 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

larry-

"How many people would NOT be in prison if "possession" was a kilo or more?

right now the distinction between "use" and "distribution" is a perversion."

i completely agree. it's even worse for meth and crack, which count as 10X their weight for convictions and sentencing and carry brutal mandatory terms.

5 grams of meth has a mandatory 5 year sentence.

that's more than manslaughter in many states.

it's unconscionable.

 
At 7/08/2012 4:28 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

"It just seems to me that some people who are put in prison are low-level petty dealers who are not violent but after we put them in prison with stone-cold killers and rapists, and then RELEASE them after having lived with killers/rapists is basically a machine for creating more killers and violent prone criminals.

just my view."

i agree larry. not only do we put them into a terrible socialization system for a few years and teach them to be more violent, but then they get out and are branded as a felon taking away most job opportunities and dooming them to low wage jobs and limiting their social activities.

you take someone who has never harmed anyone and make them harmful and frustrated.

the whole thing is a self fulfilling prophesy.

 
At 7/08/2012 11:38 PM, Blogger Don Culo said...

Does anybody have a list of countries with a death penalty for adultery?

 
At 7/09/2012 7:08 AM, Blogger Jamie Waller said...

Howdy Pot Smoking Academics and concerned citizens!

First off - Marijuana is very very different than other drugs.

Secondly- Nice people may end up in "County" for up to a year. Those in State and Federal prison are BAD people. If you don't have frequent contact with them, I suggest that you do so and then chime in.

Mark's point about the strong laws encouraging strong drugs has some merit. However, I am not lobbying for or against changes in the drug laws. My issue is incomplete information. Like many pubic policy issues is that small vested interests influence the public dialogue and carefully forget important issues. Like, "who are these people is jail?" I assure you they are not just pot smoking academics :)

Why did California not pass their recent legislation to completely legalize marijuana? Obviously, those closest to the issue have found societal ills associated with it. The northern European countries are finding ways to tighten their freewheeling drug laws. Apparently, drugs can cause problems.

The alcohol argument is always a spurious argument. After all, Willie Sutton was a good family man.

I attacked the data included in this article and I also attack the anecdotal evidence of almost anything. Opinions are mostly formed emotionally. An emotional issue like this one has an incomplete and unsophisticated dialogue. Please remember that the average pot smoker stops emotionally maturing at the beginning of the use of the drug. That means that most of the motivated vocal folks on this topic are using the supporting arguments of a 14 year old - sorry that's just the way it is.

Mr. Morganvich - you suggest, "so your claims are both untrue and misleading." about my claim about actual incarceration. Let me elaborate. Again, Marijuana is different! Many so called drug incarcerations are the charge that police use to get hardened career criminals back in jail. I agree that it is an absolutely terrible way to govern and maintain a legal system. Incarceration on a lesser charge for bad people is a blunt tool that leads to poor implementation.

BTW- have any of you spent time in and around the treatment industry? It makes or arguments and heated discussions look tame. There is little good news out there on the alcoholism and drug treatment front. If it is a "disease" as the AMA and most experts agree, shouldn't we frame our discussions in that light? Along with my aforementioned suggestion that you spend some serious time volunteering with these populations, I suggest that it is part of the broader dialogue on civility in the Public Square.

I am still stuck on the missing piece in this issue. Yes, there are lots of vested interests trying to lobby for and against. Most of us agree that the system is broken. Why isn't there more serious discussion about the issue without the narrow based objectives of special interests?

 
At 7/09/2012 7:12 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

re: bad people

how come the US has more "bad people" than another other country in the world and they're all "bad" drug dealers?

 
At 7/09/2012 12:14 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

jamie-

my former girlfriend runs a drug treatment program at a NYC hospital.

i know a great deal about treatment as a result. i have personally pulled a friend through it.

i also went to one of the best high schools in the US and to an ivy league university. drug use was rampant at both.

it's also rampant in the san francisco and silicon valley finance and technology industries, where i worked for 15 years.

99% were not harmed in any significant way. i have seen alcohol do far more damage.

drug addiction is not a disease. that's the sort of BS that people use to try to avoid personal responsibility. it may be a tendency or a trait (like tending to tan or burn in the sun) but it is not a disease.

it lacks that sort of pathology.

it's a trait. it cannot be cured, just mitigated. (and often transferred to a new addiction) ever notice how "recovering" addicts tend to smoke or gamble or get addicted to some activity? much of the "recoveries" people make are really just a transfer to a less pernicious addiction.

but calling it a disease really stretches the definition of disease further than i think is warranted.

some people have high blood pressure, or high cholesterol, or mesomorphic or ectomorphic body types. some can digest lactate as an adult, some cannot.

but you would not call lactose intolerance a disease. you'd call it a trait.

addiction is just another trait.

my view is that calling is a disease occludes and obscures more than it reveals.

 
At 7/09/2012 12:19 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

"Please remember that the average pot smoker stops emotionally maturing at the beginning of the use of the drug."

what? that's absurd. on what do you base that?

 
At 7/09/2012 6:07 PM, Blogger Nicolas Martin said...

We simply have to lock up intelligent youths.

Children with high IQs more likely to use drugs as teens, adults

Children with high IQs are more likely to use marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines and other illicit drugs as teenagers and adults, according to new data on nearly 8,000 British men and women who were tracked for more than three decades.


http://tinyurl.com/7xkan7f

 

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