Every 25 Seconds: The Human Toll of Criminalizing Drug Use in the United States

Document Date: October 5, 2016

Every 25 Seconds: The Human Toll of Criminalizing Drug Use in the United States is a joint report by Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union that documents the devastating harms caused by enforcement of drug possession laws.

More than 1.25 million people are arrested per year for drug possession, making it the single most arrested crime in the country. Black and white adults use drugs at similar rates, but a Black adult is 2.5 times more likely to be arrested for drug possession. On any given day there are at least 137,000 people behind bars as a result of drug possessions, while tens of thousands more are convicted, cycle through jails and prisons, and spend extended periods on probation and parole, often burdened with crippling debt from court-imposed fines and fees. There is a better way. This report provides detailed recommendations authorities should follow to minimize the harmful consequences of current laws and policies, until decriminalization is achieved.

Author: Tess Borden (@TessBorden)

Press Coverage: The Washington Post | The Intercept | Business Insider | Democracy Now | Reason Magazine | MintPress News | Center for American Progress | YubaNet

Articles/Blogs Written By Author: “Stuck in a US Prison – for a Small Amount of Marijuana” – Human Rights Watch |It’s Time to Decriminalize Personal Drug Use and Possession. Basic Rights and Public Health Demand It.” – ACLU

Related Advocacy/Litigation: Record Voter Engagement Leads to Historic Marijuana Legalization | Massachusetts Voters Legalize Marijuana, and ACLU Sets Sights on Successful Implementation | ACLU Calls for Repeal of Mandatory Minimum drug Sentencing Following SJC Ruling | ACLU Obtains Court Ruling Against Smithfield Anti-Medical Marijuana Ordinance | Maricopa County Prosecutor Drops Challenge to Arizona’s Medical Marijuana Act as Violation of Federal Law, Ceding Victory to ACLU


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