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.

Without a Card to Play, Texas Grandma Sentenced to Life Without Parole for First-Time Drug Offense

Without a Card to Play, Texas Grandma Sentenced to Life Without Parole for First-Time Drug Offense

By Rebecca McCray, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 10:04am
Texans can sleep more soundly at night knowing that Elisa Castillo, a grandmother and nonviolent first-time drug offender, is serving a life without parole sentence in Fort Worth. Yes, you read that right — the latest casualty of our War on Drugs is a grandmother who never even touched the drugs that sent her to prison. Though she may not look like public enemy No. 1, our persistently illogical criminal justice system has determined that this harsh punishment fits her crime. The truth, though, is that her fate was sealed, in large part because she didn't have a card to play when negotiating her sentence.
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.

Should We Deny Ill People on Probation Access to Medicine?

Should We Deny Ill People on Probation Access to Medicine?

By Ezekiel Edwards, Director, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project & Emma Andersson, Criminal Law Reform Project at 4:58pm

In 2000, Colorado voters approved an amendment to their state constitution that allows patients suffering from conditions like cancer, glaucoma and HIV/AIDS to use medical marijuana when a doctor has advised them to do so. The amendment to the…

A Glimmer of Hope in Texas' Approach to the War on Drugs

A Glimmer of Hope in Texas' Approach to the War on Drugs

By Frank Knaack, ACLU of Texas at 12:43pm

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…

40 Years and Over 40 Million Arrests Later, War on Drugs Still Harming Our Communities

40 Years and Over 40 Million Arrests Later, War on Drugs Still Harming Our Communities

By Mike Brickner, ACLU of Ohio at 1:31pm

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…

The Right to Vote: Another Victim of the War on Drugs

The Right to Vote: Another Victim of the War on Drugs

By Nancy Abudu, Director of Legal Operations, ACLU of Florida at 4:18pm

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…

Profile from the War on Drugs: Joseph Casias

Profile from the War on Drugs: Joseph Casias

By Scott Michelman, Criminal Law Reform Project at 2:25pm

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…

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…

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…

Data Mining License Plate Records

Data Mining License Plate Records

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 11:09am

On Friday I posted about an ongoing effort by the DEA to put automatic license plate reading (ALPR) devices on public interstates, where they will sweep up records of Americans’ travel and store it for two years. The agency is now pushing to…

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