Critics of American drug policies have long said that the war on drugs is really a war on people. Today, the JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE is releasing a new study chock-full of jaw-dropping statistics to prove it.
One in four people locked up in American prisons is behind bars for a drug offense, the study finds. They number almost as many as the entire US prisoner population did in 1980 (458,131 vs. 474,368). The study adds that the US incarcerates 100,000 more people for drug offenses than there are people imprisoned for all offenses in the entire European Union — even though the EU has 100 million more citizens than the US. Other stats show how America’s war on drugs has been waged disproportionately against African Americans.
Calling the system long on prison terms and short on treatment, Congressman John Conyers, Jr., D-Mich., has announced legislation that would offer non-violent drug users rehabilitation instead of incarceration.