Blog of Rights

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Oregon Voters Choose Lesser Evil of Two Misguided Criminal Justice Measures

By Jag Davies, Drug Law Reform Project at 6:28pm
While this decade has seen some states shift away from the counterproductive "lock-'em-up-and-throw-away-the-key" approach to nonviolent drug offenders, Oregon voters took a step backwards yesterday by approving Measure 57's mandates for increased sentences and new "mandatory minimum" sentencing requirements for a range of crimes, many of them nonviolent drug crimes. However, Measure 61 — a competing measure that would have increased mandatory minimum sentencing even more drastically — will not go into effect because Measure 57 received more votes.

Californians Can Save Money and Lives by Voting Yes on Prop 5

By Jag Davies, Drug Law Reform Project at 5:18pm

(Originally posted on Open Left.)

This Tuesday, California voters will decide the fate of Proposition 5, the Nonviolent Offenders Rehabilitation Act (NORA). If it passes, NORA will shift California away from a criminal justice-oriented approach…

Cascade of Reports Condemn Drug Czar's Office

By Jag Davies, Drug Law Reform Project at 9:23am

With the Office of National Drug Control Policy's five-year reauthorization approaching in 2010, there's never been a better time to scrutinize the White House's "agency of accountability" in the nation's counterproductive drug war.

Without a doubt, the ONDCP needs new metrics for measuring the success of our nation's drug policy. Rather than measuring success based on slight fluctuations in drug use, the primary measure of ONDCP's effectiveness should be the reduction of drug-related harm. If ONDCP is reauthorized, it should be charged with reducing problems associated with drug use itself (overdose, addiction, disease transmission) and problems associated with drug prohibition (over-incarceration, collateral sanctions, loss of civil liberties, racial disparities in enforcement, prosecution and sentencing).

Even by ONDCP's own misguided measures of success, it's failing miserably. Several recent reports underscore ONDCP's breathtaking corruption, dysfunction and lack of accountability:

Report Details Racially-Biased Enforcement of Drug Laws in Cuyahoga County, Ohio

By Jag Davies, Drug Law Reform Project at 12:14pm

Gradually, it is becoming common knowledge that even though a white American is just as likely to use or sell drugs, if you're African-American, you are many times more likely to be arrested and incarcerated for a drug law violation.


Congress’ Joint Economic Committee to Examine Economic Impact of U.S. Drug Policy

By Jag Davies, Drug Law Reform Project at 5:15pm

Tomorrow, U.S. Senator Jim Webb (D-Va.) will convene a hearing of the Joint Economic Committee (JEC) entitled, "Illegal Drugs: Economic Impact, Societal Costs, Policy Responses." According to the committee’s media advisory, “The panel…

Government Marijuana Scare Stories Deliberately Confuse Correlation with Causation

By Jag Davies, Drug Law Reform Project at 3:05pm

If you've read the news the past two weeks, you may have noticed eye-grabbing headlines with bold proclamations that marijuana use leads to increased risk of heart disease and that teens who use marijuana suffer from greater rates of depression.…

Federal Legislation Considers New Approach to Marijuana Possession

By Jag Davies, Drug Law Reform Project at 4:01pm
For the first time in a quarter of a century, legislation has been introduced in Congress that would eliminate federal criminal sanctions for possession of small amounts of marijuana. Considering that 89 percent of the mind-boggling 829,625 people…
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