Incarceration And Decriminalization

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Drugs, Money, and Society Many people say that the society that we live in today is drifting away from rehabilitation, and has moved in many aspects to over-criminalization and determined sentencing. While on the other hand, opponents to that perception believe that there are already many laws implemented in order to keep convictions and incarceration at a steady rate and that criminalization of certain offenses is needed to curve crime today. In California, the possession of an illegal substance can lead you to a lengthy prison sentence. From the arrest, to the trial, to the sentencing, your tax paying dollars are at work going towards what some call the never-ending cycle of the criminal justice system. Proposition 47, an attempt to reduce …show more content…
Today, a large portion of incarceration is due to the criminalization of drug possession and use. In terms of low-level offenses such as drug use and possession, many individuals believe that to solve our nations drug problems and overcrowding of prisons, the process of decriminalizing drug use needs to be implemented in order to stop focusing all the attention on getting convictions, and more focus on preventing addiction in the first place so that it will not result to mass incarceration in the first place. Proponents of decriminalization believe it would be more productive to treat people with addictions rather than handcuffing them. “Over 1.6 million people are arrested, prosecuted and incarcerated, and placed under criminal justice supervision and/or deported each year for a drug law violation”(McNamara). Yet instead of trying to reduce problematic drug use, drug-related disease transmission or overdose deaths, the drug war has actually done more harm to people than the drug use itself, by tearing apart families, putting millions of people in prisons and jails, burdening even more people with a life-long criminal record and knowing that they have to live with it, worsening the health prospects for people who use drugs and significantly compromising public health(McNamara). The consequences of any drug conviction are life-long and severe, and are not always experienced equally. Despite comparable drug use and selling rates across racial groups, African Americans and Latinos are for the most part disproportionately punished for drug law violations. Drug violations are an easy solution for police officers to meet their high arrest quotas, which ends up in thousands of wrongful arrests that overwhelmingly victimize communities of color. Many officials propose treating drug addiction as a health issue, rather than as a crime. Health based

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