Pubdate: Sun, 04 Jan 2004
Source: Birmingham News, The (AL)
Copyright: 2004 The Birmingham News
Author: Dawn Palmer


I am responding to an article I read in The News' Opinions page on
Dec. 26. It concerned overcrowding in our prison systems.

It seems to me it should be the job of our House of Representatives
and our senators to reform the laws for nonviolent offenders such as
those arrested for drug possession. This would decrease our jails and
prisons considerably.

There is no doubt that people who commit crimes should pay
restitution, but incarcerating people for minor drug possession is not
right. Drug abuse is not a crime. Until our government realizes we
cannot afford to house and feed all these people, we will always be in
debt. People who possess just small amounts of drugs have not actually
harmed me or you. They are only causing themselves harm. So where is
the crime?

We cannot throw people in jail because they might cause us harm. If
this was the case, then every person with a gun permit who possesses a
gun should go to jail. Our government needs to re-evaluate the
difference between a medical problem and a crime problem. Drug
possession is a problem for our health administrators, not our prison

Dawn Palmer

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