An analysis of the war on drugs in the united states

Race, Crime, and Punishment Just as conscious and unconscious racial notions helped define the drug problem, they have also helped shape political and policy responses to that problem. The legislative history of federal crack sentencing laws, for example, provides reason "to suspect that regardless of the objectives Congress was pursuing, it would have shown more restraint in fashioning the crack penalties or more interest in amending them in ensuing years, if the penalties did not apply almost exclusively to blacks. Politicians have been able to reap the electoral rewards of endorsing harsh drug policies because the group that suffered most from those policies-black Americans-lacked the numbers to use the political process to secure a different strategy. It could have restricted prison to only the most serious drug offenders e.

An analysis of the war on drugs in the united states

Correctional populations in the United States — Percent of adult males incarcerated by race and ethnicity. The same report found that longer prison sentences were the main driver of increasing incarceration rates since Three-strikes law Even though there are other countries that commit more inmates to prison annually, the fact that the United States keeps their prisoners longer causes the total rate to become higher.

To give an example, the average burglary sentence in the United States is 16 months, compared to 5 months in Canada and 7 months in England. The practice of imposing longer prison sentences on repeat offenders is common in many countries but the three-strikes laws in the U.

Economic and age contributions[ edit ] Crime rates in low-income areas are much higher than in middle to high class areas.

As a result, Incarceration rates in low-income areas are much higher than in wealthier areas due to these high crime rates.

Social capital is lost when an individual is incarcerated. How much social capital is lost is hard to accurately estimate, however Aizer and Doyle found a strong positive correlation between lower income as an adult if an individual is incarcerated in their youth in comparison to those who are not incarcerated.

An analysis of the war on drugs in the united states

Their children and families become susceptible to financial burden preventing them from escaping low-income communities. This contributes to the recurring cycle of poverty that is positively correlated with incarceration.

Poverty is not the sole dependent variable for increasing incarceration rates. Incarceration leads to more incarceration by putting families and communities at a dynamic social disadvantage.

According to Michelle Alexanderdrug related charges accounted for more than half the rise in state prisoners between and Drug crimes have been the predominant reason for new admissions into state and federal prisons in recent decades" and "rolling back the war on drugs would not, as Pfaff and Urban Institute scholars maintain, totally solve the problem of mass incarceration, but it could help a great deal, by reducing exposure to prison.

The Act imposed the same five-year mandatory sentence on those with convictions involving crack as on those possessing times as much powder cocaine.

United States decision, and the disparity was decreased to As of [update] According to Dorothy E. Robertsthe explanation is that poor women, who are disproportionately black, are more likely to be placed under constant supervision by the State in order to receive social services.

Roberts argues that the criminal justice system's creation of new crimes has a direct effect on the number of women, especially black women, who then become incarcerated. Racialization[ edit ] One of the first laws in the U. It prohibited the smoking of opium, which was ingested but not smoked by a substantial portion of caucasian housewives in America.

It was smoked mainly by Asian American immigrants coming to build the railroads. These immigrants were targeted with anti-Asian sentiment, as many voters believed they were losing jobs to Asian immigrants.

Crack was consumed primarily by African Americans, while powder was consumed more by the white middle-class. The substantial penalties for crack contributed to the five-fold increase in incarcerations seen in the plot above.

Prior to the s, private prisons did not exist in the US. Such institutions could face bankruptcy without a steady influx of prisoners.

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If these "lockup quotas" aren't met, the state must reimburse the prison company for the unused beds. Prison companies use the profits to expand and put pressure on lawmakers to incarcerate a certain number of people.

Our growth … depends on a number of factors we cannot control, including crime rates … [R]eductions in crime rates … could lead to reductions in arrests, convictions and sentences requiring incarceration at correctional facilities.The cost of the war on drugs to the economy: analysis and scrutiny At a time of global economic crisis, the importance of evaluating the cost-effectiveness of all major public expenditure against an agreed set of measures on .

The cartels also produce and smuggle vast quantities of marijuana into the United States, but legalization of the drug in some U.S.

jurisdictions has diminished cartel profits. The evidence that immigrants tend not to be criminals is overwhelming. To begin with, there is an inverse relationship between crime and immigration.

Crime rates in the United States have trended downward for many years at the same time that the number of immigrants has grown.

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War on drugs - Wikipedia