Incarceration rates have recently come into question, and thankfully so. The last eight years of Mr. Obama have made it more than a little challenging for nonviolent drug offenders to become constructive members of society.
As a burgeoning millennial scientist, it seems worth a moment to look at the science behind these prison rates. Allow me to explain.
The statistics show that about 50% of prison inmates were convicted for possession of illegal drugs, many of which were nonviolent crimes. The cost to society for drug related crimes is approximately $107.8 billion, with about a 77% recidivism for drug offenders.
Inquiring minds might also want to know that a staggering number of drug offenders were previously sexually abused earlier in life. Although some have unwisely turned to drugs as an escape, these are individuals that truly need help instead of punishment behind bars.
About 20% of these inmates have also been shown to suffer from serious mental illnesses, such as psychosis and antisocial personality disorder.
Previous sexual abuse and mental illnesses have proven to have potentially harmful results on the brain, There is great risk of damage to the frontal lobe, which is partly responsible for decision-making and impulse control, a matter of great import when preventing oneself from committing a violent crime.
This is not to suggest that every drug offender has experienced past abuse or has a mental illness. However, statistics show that a significant number of individuals are indeed struggling with such factors.
Sentencing time for drug possession was not previously a serious issue. It was not until former President Clinton’s 1994 Crime Bill that sentencing time for repeat drug offenders was greatly increased. Leave it to the Democrats.
Not only has Clinton’s 1994 Crime Bill been harmful for the mentally ill and previous victims of abuse, but it has also greatly impacted those struggling with addiction in general. This bill has been shown to have serious racial consequences as well, leading to the mass incarceration of blacks in the US.
Liberals still manage to have an undying love for Bill Clinton, while simultaneously claiming that Republicans are the reason for the mass incarceration of blacks. Until these ignorant individuals admit that Clinton made nonviolent drug offenses at times a worse sentence than theft, assault, rape, etc., it is safe to say that they will do nothing to help the situation.
So, let’s solve this instead.
It is not always necessary to take action against drug users. If the individual is in a healthy state of mind, then there is no good reason to take away his freedom to put harmful substances in one’s own body. As long as no one is injured and consenting adults are the ones using, no action should be taken against non-violent drug users.
For those struggling with mental illness or past abuse, therapy would be both more humane and less costly.
We should hold our politicians accountable by demanding more humane and effective laws regarding drug use, especially for those who are mentally ill and unable to help themselves.