Anti Drug Policies And Strict Drug Laws Essay

1107 Words Apr 30th, 2016 null Page
Anti-drug policies and strict drug laws have done more harm than good and it has been a continual driving force in the rise of incarcerated African Americans (Shift, 2013). In 1973, the Rockefeller Drug law was passed, named after Governor Nelson Rockefeller which enacted long mandatory minimum sentences of 15 years to life for a first time offender, even for a non-violent crime. He believed that it was time to take a criminal justice approach to drug policy (Share, 2016). African Americans were always viewed as the cause of crime and violence. Consequently, “Reagan’s anti-drug rhetoric was skillfully designed to tap into deeply held cultural attitudes about people of color and their links to drug use and other illicit behavior. According to mass communications scholar William Elwoods, Reagan’s rhetorical declaration of a war on drugs had a deliberate political effect. In Elwood 's view; such rhetoric allows presidents to appear as strong leaders who are tough on crimes” (Nunn, 2002).
There are those who believe that large number of incarcerated African American males is due, not on the War on Drugs, but instead to violent crimes. The prison population and the incarceration rate both increased in the mid 1970s largely due to violent and property crimes and drug policies would thereby have little effect. Drug offenders only made up about a quarter of the prison population while violent offenders made up half of the prison population. In general only about 17 percent of…

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