One in four American prisoners in for drugs

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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.

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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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