Pubdate: Tue, 26 Mar 2002
Source: San Francisco Examiner (CA)
Copyright: 2002 San Francisco Examiner
Author: Redford Givens


LETTER writer Bob Dougherty's contention that locking up every drug user 
would end drug trafficking has one fatal flaw (The Examiner, March 21). Who 
will pay the hundreds of billions of dollars for police, courts and prisons 
to lock up the druggies?

It costs around $30,000 per year to incarcerate each prisoner and 
California already spends more than $1,022,465,000 every year to 
incarcerate the 45,455 drug offenders doing time.

If Mr. Dougherty's idea is put into practice, we'll have to imprison 
hundreds of thousands of drug users who are now gainfully employed. If only 
200,000 drug users (a low estimate) were jailed the taxpayer burden would 
increase by over $7 million per year.

Besides the considerable tax hike necessary to fund this total war on 
drugs, such enormous prison expenses would require severe cuts in every 
other area of government service. Schools would be bankrupted, public 
hospitals would be closed and genuine police protection would evaporate.

Redford Givens

The City
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