Still think there’s nothing wrong with America’s War on Drugs?
Think again. Drug offenses were the single most common cause of arrest in 2012, with most offenses involving mere possession. That’s over theft, murder, assault and any other violent crime that is clearly prevalent in this nation.
According to Think Progress:
Of the 12.2 million estimated arrests, 1.55 million were for “drug abuse violations.” Some 82 percent of those were for possession offenses, and 42.4 percent for marijuana possession. That is the equivalent of a drug arrest every 20 seconds, and a marijuana arrest every 42 seconds, according to calculations by Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a group of law enforcement officials who support the regulated legalization of drugs.
“These numbers represent a tremendous loss of human potential,” said LEAP Executive Director Neill Franklin, who was a police officer for 34 years. Each one of those arrests is the story of someone who may suffer a variety of adverse effects from their interaction with the justice system.” Among those effects are ineligibility for federal student loans, which applies only to convictions for drug offenses, or involuntary civil commitment for a sexual offense.
Basically, Franklin is saying that if you commit a robbery or a murder, you’re definitely still eligible for a student loan. Backwards?
Emphasis on drug abuse arrests also detracts from resources for solving other violent crimes. Over the past half century, the rate of unsolved homicides has skyrocketed. And a recent study by the Drug Policy Alliance found that the New York Police Department spent 1 million hours over the last decade just on marijuana arrests. An FBI chart accompanying last year’s annual crime statistics tracks the increase in marijuana arrests, as violent crime arrests decreased.
So what do officers who need to fill a quota do? Overdose on drug possession arrests instead of solving those complex crimes. Which means there are criminals out there being completely ignored by law enforcement.
SOURCE: Think Progress | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty