How to Fix It: Lose the Drug War

"We are the jailingest motherfuckers on the planet. More than that, the number of violent offenders in federal prisons has gone down to its lowest level ever in the history of the country—in the single digits, by the Bureau of Prisons' own statistics. And the political party that let this get out of control? It was the Democrats. The drug war has actually destroyed the deterrent in inner cities by teaching whole police departments to chase drug stats when they should be solving crimes. And, of course, because they can't put all those people in prison, it doesn't even work as a draconian policy. Most people are just thrown back onto the street. A smart politician could cite all these things, and we could stop the madness. But everyone's worried that the little old lady in Terre Haute is going to think you're soft on drugs. I think all the little old ladies in Terre Haute get it. The American people are smarter than politicians give them credit for. If McCain came to a Democratic Congress with reforms, I think he'd be a hero to moderates everywhere, because do you know people who believe in the drug war? I don't know if there's a cop in Baltimore who believes in it except as a means of getting overtime pay, hoard pay. I think everybody knows except the government."

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Read an extended interview with David Simon about the Bush legacy here.