Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Drug War Futility

Here's a follow up to this week's earlier post about ending the War on Drugs. I was working on a brief this morning when I came across a telling admission. It's from a 2004 report by the United States Sentencing Commission that evaluated the first 15 years of sentencing under the Guidelines. In a section laying out some of the problems with the way the Guidelines treat repeat offenders, the Commission explained:

Unlike repeat violent offenders, whose incapacitation may protect the public from additional crimes by the offender, criminologists and law enforcement officials testifying before the Commission have noted that retail-level drug traffickers are readily replaced by new drug sellers so long as the demand for a drug remains high. Incapacitating a low-level drug seller prevents little, if any, drug selling; the crime is simply committed by someone else.
In other words, a combination of demand for the product and the money to be made by it's illicit nature makes the War on Drugs a particularly futile exercised.

That's at page 134 of the Commission's Fifteen Years of Guidelines Sentencing.

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