Pubdate: Thu, 01 Jan 2004
Source: Sacramento Bee (CA)
Copyright: 2004 The Sacramento Bee
Author: Glenn Backes


This is the most exciting news yet about the new governor. It appears that 
even sentencing reform is on the table. Very impressive for a first-termer!

With Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in charge, now is the time for bold reforms 
of the cruel and stupid drug laws that have sent too many nonviolent people 
to a very violent prison system for too many years. Billions of tax dollars 
spent on a bloated prison bureaucracy have forced state and local 
governments to slash health and social programs, to raise tuitions, to 
allow schools to decay and our kids to languish, and reduced the number of 
street cops protecting our neighborhoods.

To mitigate the risks associated with drugs, we should pursue 
evidence-based approaches, such as after-school programs that offer youth 
enjoyable alternatives to getting high; and drug treatment for addicts who 
gain nothing from prison except psychic scars and a rap sheet.

Future policies should be evaluated according to their cost and their 
effect on the rates of death, disease and crime associated with drug use, 
not for what nebulous moral message they may send.

For information on alternatives, visit

- - Glenn Backes, Sacramento

Director, California Drug Policy Project
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom