August 7, 2009

Recession proof

Delaware will soon offer exception from criminal prosecution for therapeutic use of cannabis (still xenophobically referred to as marijuana in U.S. legislation) by seriously-ill patients. Initiatives to allow medical use of cannabis serve to broaden public dialogue and awareness about draconian drug policies, but pose little immediate threat to the institutional beneficiaries of these policies, including the prison-for-profit industry.
  • Since mandatory minimum sentencing first began for drug offenders, the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ budget has increased by more than 2,100%, from $220 million in 1986 to about $4.4 billion in 2004.

  • Incarcerating a drug offender costs $22,000 annually. Because of mandatory minimum sentences, the number of drug offenders in federal prison grew from 25% of the total inmate population in 1981 to 60% in 2001.

  • The United States currently incarcerates more than 2.2 million inmates, at a rate of one in every 143 people (contrasted with approximately one in 1000 in England, Italy, France, and Germany).

The scale of prohibition's economy inhibits forthright recession of costly governing drug doctrine. Bullet points from

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