Jun 24, 2009

Are Drug War Cost Driving Change?

The Nation magazine has an interesting article by Sasha Abramsky entitled, "The War Against the War On Drugs."The article describes the dilemma many states are facing in paying for prisons resulting from the crime control policies of the last 30 years. Ms. Abramsky focuses on the fiscal crisis California is facing which may result in reductions in prison treatment and education programs and the release of thousands of non-violent offenders with very little investment in reentry services. She cites research by the Pew Charitable Trust indicating that California and several other states are now "paying as much or more on prisons than on college."

California, according to Abramsky, might be a model for how not to do reform. While many advocates have long sought changes in drug control policies that invest more in prevention and treatment based on the evidence, in many states the need to reduce cost is emerging as the driving force.