"The presidency of Ronald Reagan marked the start of a long period of skyrocketing rates of incarceration, largely thanks to his unprecedented expansion of the drug war. The number of people behind bars for nonviolent drug law offenses increased from 50,000 in 1980 to over 400,000 by 1997.
The draconian policies enacted during the hysteria remained, however, and continued to result in escalating levels of arrests and incarceration. Although Bill Clinton advocated for treatment instead of incarceration during his 1992 presidential campaign, after his first few months in the White House he reverted to the drug war strategies of his Republican predecessors by continuing to escalate the drug war. Notoriously, Clinton rejected a U.S. Sentencing Commission recommendation to eliminate the disparity between crack and powder cocaine sentences. He also rejected, with the encouragement of drug czar General Barry McCaffrey, health secretary Donna Shalala’s advice to end the federal ban on funding for syringe access programs. Yet, a month before leaving office, Clinton asserted in a Rolling Stone interview that "we really need a re-examination of our entire policy on imprisonment" of people who use drugs, and said that marijuana use "should be decriminalized."
A Brief History of the Drug War | Drug Policy Alliance
The notion that incarceration dramatically increased because of violent crime is false to the core. It increased because America started locking up legions of non-violent criminals for drugs.
That evidence is glaringly apparent.
Yes, he was also the author of big national debt and freeing mental patients from the social safety of the institution (which was better for themselves and the nation) and for the good things Reagan did, we'll pat him on the back for that, too.
Prisons are overcrowded due to incarceration for drug offenses, pure and simple. This article was big local news recently:
Most Wanted Car Theft Suspect Arrested By Fresno Police
This career criminal had been arrested several times already, of course, but let out each time due to overcrowding. Surprise, surprise, he didn't show up for court dates, imagine that!
So, the cops rented extra space specifically for car thieves, and kept him in custody.
OMG! Possession of illegal drugs! That will get him a long sentence. Now, if only he'd simply pursued his car stealing career, he might have been out and running his chop shops in a few months.Sgt. Tietjen says Luna has been stealing five to eight cars nightly for the past two months. Since the start of the year he's been arrested five times but released each time. This case is different. "He's gonna stay in jail in custody until he goes thru the process. We know that we will see a substantial decrease in auto thefts because he's in one of those beds."
The Fresno Police Department is currently renting five beds from the jail so accused car thieves can't get out for overcrowding. Sgt. Tietjen is ecstatic with the arrest because his task force hooked a big fish and also broke up a chop shop and recovered two stolen vehicles.
Luna faces charges of auto theft, running a chop shop and possession of illegal drugs.
Can't we just turn Congress off and then turn it back on again?
Now let's talk about violent crime, which is different, and not the cause of the explosion of incarceration .. which is intuitive reading from your chart.
US crime rate at lowest point in decades. Why America is safer now. - CSMonitor.com
The crime rate for serious crimes, including murder, rape, and assault, has dropped significantly since the early 1990s in part because of changes in technology and policing, experts say.
... 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.
Perhaps you can tell me how this changes the equation that the explosion of incarceration in the US is directly related to the war on drugs, the vats majority of which are for non-violent crimes.
If there was no drop in crime with these drug offenders you might have a point-but there IS a drop, and as it turns out even those convicted for non-violent crimes are still criminals who do bad things.
So im fine with it.
Also-FROM YOU SOURCE http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2010/05...ix-key-reasons
So what up with that?
Last edited by US Conservative; 12-13-13 at 04:52 PM.