Tag: jail

Legalizing All Drugs is Morally and Practically Beneficial

By Indri Schaelicke | United States

Since the passage of the 1970 Controlled Substances Act, the War on Drugs has destroyed countless lives. This campaign often oversteps constitutional restrictions to searches and seizures without warrants or probable cause. Worse than this, however, is the pain it inflicts upon families. For mere use of an illicit substance, the state takes people away from their loved ones.

Impact on Family Structure

The War on Drugs has had significant impacts on the family structure. It also disproportionately affects the black population. According to the NAACP’s Criminal Justice Fact Sheet, in 2014, African Americans constituted 2.3 million, or 34%, of the total 6.8 million correctional population. This far exceeds their less than 15% makeup of the general population.

Mass incarceration has shattered the black family structure. In 2014, 66% of black children lived in a single-parent family. Of course, incarceration is not the sole reason for this statistic. Nonetheless, when imprisonment of many members of a community becomes the norm, the loss of one parent becomes more acceptable. Mass incarceration has created a culture of broken families, which passes through generations. Family structure within a society is immensely difficult to rebuild once it falls apart.

Single-parent Households and Wealth

Obviously, single motherhood has effects on wealth. Half the potential income is being brought in, while many of the same needs of a typical “nuclear family” still apply. For example, that mother must solely still supply food, schooling, and housing. With one parent gone, income drops off greatly, limiting the family’s financial opportunity.

The War on Drugs Helps Gangs

The War on Drugs not only affects individual users but also impacts entire groups who traffick illicit substances. Illicit drug trade often involves murderers, conspirators, money launderers, and many other dangerous criminals. This makes sense, as the promise of imprisonment scares away safer and more reliable businessmen. The underground drug ring often creates tension that sparks frequent violent acts.

The legalization of all drugs, however, would eliminate the need for cartels. Gangs would not need to supply them, as the market would likely do so at much cheaper rates. Thus, gang violence would drop drastically, allowing inner-city communities to grow.

A Faulty Mission

The initial reasoning behind drug criminalization was that it would help to curb people’s addiction problems. However, this mission has clearly failed.

https://i1.wp.com/cdn.theatlantic.com/media/old_wire/img/upload/2012/10/12/drug-spending-v-addiction.gif?resize=845%2C475&ssl=1
https://cdn.theatlantic.com/media/old_wire/img/upload/2012/10/12/drug-spending-v-addiction.gif

Since Drug Prohibition began in 1970, drug addiction rates have not changed. Yet, the taxpayers throw more and more money at the problem. The government has entwined itself in the false notion that it can regulate personal choices. if someone wishes to use drugs, they will find a way to. The government, thus, simply cannot get rid of all drugs in existence and end drug use completely.

Instead, federal drug policy should focus on the rehabilitation of the victims of drug abuse; jailing someone for the victimless crime of drug use does not address why they are using in the first place. In fact, those in jail for drug use are likely to use drugs again once they get out. In many cases, prison even serves as a gateway for more severe crimes.

…One-half (50.0%) of federal drug trafficking offenders released in 2005 recidivated by being rearrested for a new crime or rearrested for a violation of supervision conditions. – United States Sentencing Commission, “Recidivism Among Federal Drug Trafficking Offenders“, 2017

While in jail, users connect with those who have committed far worse crimes. This inducts them into the world of crime. When they leave jail, these users reenter society with new connections to cartels, mobs, and other criminal organizations.

Basic Human Autonomy

Drug prohibition violates the principle that one should be allowed to do as they please with their own body, so long as they are not harming others or their property. When someone consumes a drug, they are willfully and knowingly accepting the potential for harm that may occur. Few people use drugs without awareness of the strongly negative impacts. The choice to use a drug does not necessarily affect others. Therefore, it is a victimless crime. Imprisoning people for their personal choices is both disruptive to society and highly immoral.

Ending the War on Drugs

Ending the War on Drugs has several practical benefits. One of these is the decreased cost of the massive prison and jail system in the U.S. today. If the federal government deregulated all drugs, they would not need money to jail people for their personal choices. Thus, they could greatly reduce taxes without adding to the deficit. The federal government currently spends about $182 billion each year on the justice system. Of that, $80.7 billion goes towards prisons and jails. A further $12.3 billion goes to health care for prisoners.
41.6% of all inmates currently in federal prison are there for drug-related offenses, the largest group of any offense. Removing 41.6% of a federal prison population of 181,193 would give over 75,000 inmates the justice they deserve. Moreover, it would drastically decrease the amount of funding jails would need to operate.

Limited Steps Forward

Thankfully, some people are realizing the downfalls of imprisoning people for marijuana, at least. Since 2012, 9 states have fully legalized the use of marijuana for any purpose. The first two states to do so, Colorado and Washington, achieved this via a ballot initiative. Clearly, societal perceptions about the use of weed are changing. Canada also recently became just the second country to legalize marijuana nationally, after only Uruguay. Furthermore, some towns are actually working towards legalizing psilocybin mushrooms, a psychedelic drug.

Regulations and Setbacks

The issue with much of the recent legalization legislation is that the government has enacted many regulations which dispensaries must follow. This imposes extra costs on the business, which raise the final sell price of marijuana. Legislative taxes are fairly easy to skirt anyways, defeating their purpose and harming the few who pay. This phenomenon has been more recently witnessed in Canada, where marijuana became legal on October 14th. Researchers from the University of Waterloo and the C.D. Howe Institute believed that suppliers would only meet between 30-60% of demand.

Legalize All Drugs

The legalization of marijuana has seen large success in terms of decreasing prison populations and requiring less revenue for running jail facilities. It’s time for the U.S. to take a more compassionate approach to dealing with addiction and substance abuse. The best way to do so? Legalize all drugs.


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The Best Way to Stop Crime Before it Happens

Thomas Calabro | United States

Perhaps one of the most polarizing debates in our political environment is how to prevent crime from happening. This is a legitimate issue to debate as we desire security from threats against us. But the fear of crime usually leads us to the inclination of sacrificing our constitutional freedoms for “security”. For most of these cases, the inclination is utilized by politicians who harp on these emotions to instill a greater requirement to implement their policies. They wish to be the heroes that stopped crime and saved our society violence by providing more tools for the local and federal governments, and seizing our rights to privacy, to bear arms, and to live peacefully.

There are those who oppose these policies and call for protecting our constitutional rights, these so called “heroes” rebuke by delegitimize the rights and liberties being violated. Those rights are portrayed as a risk for flourishing more crime, and are not even protected by the constitution. If this tactic of disparaging their opponents argument fails their next move is to simplify the argument to this context to either preserving liberty or obtaining security. But rather than using more direct approaches that sacrifices our rights, we should focus on the indirect approach of not creating the crime in the first place.

We should not support policies that create instability in the world, and lead to insurgency groups retaliating against us for creating chaos. It is easier to understand why radical groups rise up to attack an intruding country when you think in terms of China invading the US. This is a point that many view as equating the US to terrorists, but should be seen as an acknowledgment that many will react to situations in similar ways. Viewing those in the Middle East as different from us detracts the ability to fully understand their actions as very similar to what ours would have been if we were in that same scenario. We would not end terrorism by detracting from our current interventionist foreign policy, as that would likely not be the case. However, reducing instability in the world would prevent more groups from rising from power vacuums, especially those that are provided arms by the US, that will be used later against our troops.

We should start asking “Why” a perpetrator would commit a heinous crime rather than “How.” Looking at the psychological, social, and cultural issues of a group, and understanding why people from this group commit violent crimes, is a reasonable way to notice a pattern that ultimately leads to violence. Yet many refuse to look in this way and instead focus on the tools used in the process. The idea of prohibiting the use of this item from some, or even all, and hoping to stop a plotted attempt has grown popular in todays society, providing a “quick fix” that will supposedly save the day. But this not only threatens the individual liberty of each law abiding American, it also may have unintended consequences, simply leading some to find other ways to obtain these goods and perpetrate acts of evil. By looking at the causes of acts of violence, we may find a more disturbing fact in our society that drives people to take the lives of others, and create new strategies to fix this permanently.

Finally we should question whether the crime is really harmful. We should be a country  with citizens that abide to the laws, but the laws that we follow must be reasonable and follow the very principles of our country. We must understand that not all laws truly follow the principles of this country, and to keep them around is to approve of their purpose in our country.  If we are to uphold the principles of our Country to make the US a symbol of liberty, we should look at our past mistakes of infringing on American’s freedoms to make sure they are corrected in our present and will never happen again in our future.


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Open Letter to Sheriff Akin of Wise County From Adam Kokesh

By Adam Kokesh | TEXAS

This is a reprinting of 2020 Libertarian Presidential Candidate Adam Kokesh’s letter to Sheriff Akin of Wise County, January 24th 2018. You can donate to help with his legal fund here: https://kokesh.revv.co/wise

Sheriff Akin my name is Adam Kokesh. On January 16th, 2018, I announced that I am running for President of the United States as a Libertarian on the platform of the peaceful, orderly, responsible dissolution of the US Federal Government.

On that same day, I was falsely arrested in your county by Texas state trooper Garcia. That is why I am currently enjoying a government induced, taxpayer-funded, spiritual retreat at the Wise County Jail. I would tell you more about the incident; the charges, the circumstances, and the full name of the arresting officer. But although I have been locked up for more than a week and despite my repeated demands, I have yet to receive a single piece of paper from the government regarding the incident of my unjust imprisonment. As the county sheriff, you have the ability to set things right in this case. I intend to help you. I will make it as easy as possible to achieve justice so long as you cooperate with me in good faith and honor your oath to the constitution; similar to the one I took when I enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. I swore to defend it against ALL enemies both foreign and DOMESTIC.

I watched fellow marines dies in combat in Fallujah, Iraq to allegedly defend the freedom of my fellow Americans. Needless to say, it was quite disheartening to return home to find that if the terrorists ever hated us for our freedom, they should love us by now. We found out the hard way that the greatest enemies of the constitution are not to be found in the sands of some far off land, but rather right here at home.

I hope that your opposition to the constitution is unintentional rather than deliberate. Now that the issue has been raised we shall soon see if you are one of many domestic enemies of the constitution or if you will join me in standing up for freedom, justice, and American values. You have access to sufficient evidence to determine that my arrest was false, and that officer Garcia acted with deliberate malice and disregard for my rights. You can watch my videos that I broadcast live of the arrest until I was unlawfully ordered to stop filming. You can see that there were several violations of police procedure and my rights as ascribed by the 4th Amendment of United States Constitution. I am writing to you to report several crimes. I have been falsely arrested and imprisoned.

An innocent man sits in your jail, the victim of a dangerous criminal in uniform that still roams the streets to terrorize the good people of Wise County, who you have a DUTY to protect. If you don’t think that terror is the effect of his presence; I challenge you to survey the residents of Wise County and ask them how they feel when a state trooper pulls up behind them. I bet you everything that I own that you will hear more words like, fear and anxiety, than safe and secure.

Do your duty. Pursue this matter appropriately and arrest officer Garcia. I will not rest until I see him wearing the same striped uniform that I am wearing now. You are in possession of stolen goods. There was nothing that was taken from me that day that was taken lawfully. I demand that all my property be returned to me immediately including my dog Baloo and my RV, No Force One. I demand that you make arrangements to compensate me for all damages done to my property, time lost due to false imprisonment, and all towing and impound fees.

You can pass the bill to the arresting officer. Instruct the Wise County District Attorney to not oppose my writ of Habeas Corpus and for the presiding judge to grant it so that you can release me without restrictions or pending charges.

Do the right thing. Regardless of how well you handle this there will be a number of lawsuits stemming from this incident and I intend to extract as much money as possible from the criminal arresting officer, Wise County, the great state of Texas, and all other individuals who can be held accountable, possibly even your yourself; for the numerous civil rights violations that I have experienced in your facility. Including having a female guard deliberately walk in on me while sitting on the toilet in my cell.

I will not take a single penny from any lawsuits; for myself or my political causes. It will all be returned to the people of Wise County with priority given to compensating your other victims.

I have presented you with a very important choice. It will affect you until your last day on earth regardless of what you decide. It is now up to you to show the world if you are a man of courage and conviction or cowardice and corruption. I advise you to meet me in my cell, M3-D32 or as I like to call it, The Kokesh Presidential Suite, at your earliest convenience to discuss these matters. I assume you will consult with attorneys before taking any action, I strongly suggest that you consult with your conscience first.

Sincerely,

Adam Charles Kokesh

Inmate Number 95195

PS I would have sent this letter by certified mail, but that option is not currently available to me as I have been denied access to even any of the normally available resources necessary to mount a proper legal defense. Last night, I read this letter to my staff over the phone from my cell. By the time you read this, it will have already been publicly released as a blog, a podcast, and a video on numerous platform to millions of people online, and emailed to all local public officials and media in Wise County for whom my staff can find contact information