War on Drugs

June 2011 marked the 40th anniversary of President Richard Nixon's declaration of a "war on drugs" — a war which has cost $1 trillion but produced little to no effect on the supply of or demand for drugs. The war on drugs has been a war on communities of color. The racial disparities are staggering: despite the fact that whites engage in drug offenses at a higher rate than African-Americans, African-Americans are incarcerated for drug offenses at a rate that is 10 times greater than that of whites. The ACLU is advocating for a more responsible drug policy in America. It’s time to end the unjust and unsuccessful war on drugs.

DEA Recording Americans’ Movements on Highways, Creating Central Repository of Plate Data

DEA Recording Americans’ Movements on Highways, Creating Central Repository of Plate Data

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 3:58pm
The DEA wants to capture the license plates of all vehicles traveling along Interstate 15 in Utah, and store that data for two years at their facility in Northern Virginia. And, as a DEA official told Utah legislators at a hearing this week (attended by ACLU of Utah staff and covered in local media), these scanners are already in place on “drug trafficking corridors” in California and Texas and are being considered for Arizona as well. The agency is also collecting plate data from unspecified other sources and sharing it with over ten thousand law enforcement agencies around the nation.
"Tough on Crime" No Longer the American Mantra?

"Tough on Crime" No Longer the American Mantra?

By Inimai Chettiar, ACLU & Alex Stamm, ACLU Center for Justice at 4:35pm

Politicians over the last quarter-century have held strong to the conventional wisdom that being "tough on crime" will win elections and appease the public's appetite for safety. And for the most part, it seems Americans did feel this…

Just What Is So Wrong With the War on Drugs?

Just What Is So Wrong With the War on Drugs?

By Inimai Chettiar, ACLU at 1:41pm

June 2011 marks the 40th anniversary of President Richard Nixon's declaration of a "war on drugs" — a war that has cost roughly a trillion dollars, has produced little to no effect on the supply of or demand for drugs in the United…

We Must Stop Throwing People Away

We Must Stop Throwing People Away

By Harry Belafonte, Entertainer & Activist at 11:00am

There is a crisis that demands our urgent attention. For the last four decades, this country has been obsessed with expanding the number of people we throw behind bars and the length of time we hold them there. Crime rates have been falling for…

Fighting for "Too Much Justice"

Fighting for "Too Much Justice"

By Vanita Gupta, Center for Justice at 4:22pm

In the last 40 years, this country's "tough on crime" policymaking has sacrificed the lives and rights of people of color at the altar of politics.

10-Hour SWAT Raid of Organic Farm? Just Another Day in the War on Drugs.

10-Hour SWAT Raid of Organic Farm? Just Another Day in the War on Drugs.

By Kara Dansky, Senior Counsel, ACLU Center for Justice & Iman Boukadoum, ACLU at 2:07pm

A SWAT team spent ten hours raiding a small organic farm called The Garden of Eden in Arlington, Texas last month...

Drug Agents Have an NSA-Style Spying Problem

Drug Agents Have an NSA-Style Spying Problem

By Ezekiel Edwards, Director, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 2:58pm

Over the last few months, we've been bombarded with revelation after revelation about the NSA's unprecedented spying on Americans. But, according to The New York Times, the NSA's untethered snooping is eclipsed by the agents fighting in a war that…

What Could Stop Eric Holder from Rolling Back the War on Drugs? A US Attorney Fresh out of "Purple Drank"

What Could Stop Eric Holder from Rolling Back the War on Drugs? A US Attorney Fresh out of "Purple Drank"

By Kara Dansky, Senior Counsel, ACLU Center for Justice & Sarah Solon, Communications Strategist, ACLU at 12:58pm

Remember two days ago when Attorney General Eric Holder gave a major, televised speech calling out the US for throwing too many people behind bars? Remember how he questioned the War on Drugs and criticized the racial disparities that plague the criminal…

Washington’s Marijuana Law Is Part of Reforming the Criminal Justice System

Washington’s Marijuana Law Is Part of Reforming the Criminal Justice System

By Mark Cooke, ACLU of Washington & Doug Honig, ACLU of Washington at 4:14pm

Voters in Washington state, along with those in Colorado, made history on Election Day by passing laws that legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for adults 21 and over. Washington's law, Initiative 502 (I-502), passed with an 11-point margin, sending…

A Call for Fairness

A Call for Fairness

By Dan Zeidman, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 1:03pm

June 2011 marks the 40th anniversary of President Richard Nixon's declaration of a "war on drugs" — a war that has cost roughly a trillion dollars, has produced little to no effect on the supply of or demand for drugs in the United…

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