Drug Law Reform

Gil Kerlikowske: Please Put Our Money Where Your Mouth Is

Gil Kerlikowske: Please Put Our Money Where Your Mouth Is

By Rebecca McCray, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project & Emma Andersson, Criminal Law Reform Project at 4:02pm
U.S. Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske has his work cut out for him.  A revealing recent interview suggests he favors a more treatment-based approach to drug policy than his predecessors, but he has no illusions about the daunting task of de-stigmatizing addiction and aligning America’s drug policies with the extensive evidence that a public health approach will serve our country far better than the failed War on Drugs. It’s great that the national discussion about drug use and addiction is changing course, even among high-powered folks like Kerlikowske, but our laws and practices have many miles to go to catch up with the trends in conversation. Fifty percent of our federal prisoners – and almost 20 percent of state prisoners – are incarcerated for drug offenses. And this isn’t just cracking down on “hard” drugs - Marijuana arrests accounted for more than half of all drug arrests in 2010. All of this has a disproportionate and devastating impact on Black Americans, who are three times more likely to be arrested for a marijuana offense even though whites use marijuana at a higher rate. So the question is: can the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) follow through on Kerlikowske’s newfound enlightenment?
Our Presidents Smoked It. Why Is It Still a Crime?

Our Presidents Smoked It. Why Is It Still a Crime?

By Lynda Garcia, Soros Fellow, Criminal Law Reform Project, ACLU at 10:50am

The cover of a recent issue of The Nation calling for marijuana legalization features President Obama with his high school buddies, known as the Choom Gang, who, allegedly, were very into smoking weed. And as The Nation points out, Obama has company—Presidents…

Is Your College Forcing Every Student to Urinate into a Cup?

Is Your College Forcing Every Student to Urinate into a Cup?

By Sarah Solon, Communications Strategist, ACLU & Jason Williamson at 11:59am

Imagine you get into the college of your dreams. You save up for the books you need and some coveted dorm decorations. The welcome wagon that greets you on campus? A suspicionless drug test and a $50 fee for the hassle and embarrassment of urinating…

President Obama Must Tackle Criminal Justice Reform in His Second Term

President Obama Must Tackle Criminal Justice Reform in His Second Term

By Kara Dansky, Senior Counsel, ACLU Center for Justice at 11:19am

President Obama is the first sitting president in recent history to speak out against criminal justice policies that hurt inner city and rural communities. This is a big deal.

Breaking the Addiction to Incarceration: Weekly Highlights

Breaking the Addiction to Incarceration: Weekly Highlights

By Alex Stamm, ACLU Center for Justice at 9:27am

Today, the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world. With over 2.3 million men and women living behind bars, our imprisonment rate is the highest it’s ever been in U.S. history. And yet, our criminal justice system…

Marijuana on the Ballot

Marijuana on the Ballot

By Rachel Myers, ACLU at 7:29pm

Last night brought exciting signs that America is finally ready to choose sensible policies over draconian ones that deny sick people access to the medicine they need, and others that clog our criminal justice system with nonviolent marijuana users.…

Breaking the Addiction to Incarceration: Weekly Highlights

Breaking the Addiction to Incarceration: Weekly Highlights

By Alex Stamm, ACLU Center for Justice at 4:13pm

Today, the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world. With over 2.3 million men and women living behind bars, our imprisonment rate is the highest it’s ever been in U.S. history. And yet, our criminal justice system…

Breaking the Addiction to Incarceration: Weekly Highlights

Breaking the Addiction to Incarceration: Weekly Highlights

By Alex Stamm, ACLU Center for Justice at 2:27pm

Today, the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world. With over 2.3 million men and women living behind barsour imprisonment rate is the highest it’s ever been in U.S. history.

Breaking the Addiction to Incarceration: Weekly Highlights

Breaking the Addiction to Incarceration: Weekly Highlights

By Alex Stamm, ACLU Center for Justice at 2:05pm

Today, the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world. With over 2.3 million men and women living behind bars, our imprisonment rate is the highest it’s ever been in U.S. history.

Crime bill "should've been better, could've been worse"

Crime bill "should've been better, could've been worse"

By Carol Rose, Executive Director, ACLU of Massachusetts at 4:16pm

The mandatory-sentencing bill that Gov. Patrick said today he will sign should have been better, but could have been worse. The ACLU of Massachusetts opposed this bill because it takes our justice system in the wrong direction, expanding unjust, wasteful mandatory sentencing and depriving judges of the ability to depart from required mandatory maximum sentences for so-called 'habitual offenders'.

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