Pubdate: Wed, 19 Oct 2005
Source: USA Today (US)
Copyright: 2005 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc
Author: Tony Newman


I was deeply moved by Breea Willingham's commentary regarding the
devastation that children endure, particularly in the African-American
community, when their fathers and brothers are missing from their
lives because they are in jail ("Millions just like me," The Forum,

One reason why many fathers can't be with their families is because of
this country's misguided war on drugs.  Of the two million people
behind bars in America, more than 450,000 are there for drug offenses.
While drug abuse doesn't discriminate, our drug policies do.

Despite roughly equal drug use between blacks and whites,
African-Americans are 13 times more likely to go to jail for drugs
than whites.  In New York, 93% of the people in jail under the
draconian Rockefeller drug laws are African-Americans and Latino, even
though there are likely a number of white people on Wall Street who
use cocaine.

Offering people treatment and help instead of incarceration for their
drug addictions would not only save this country much-needed
resources, it would help keep tens of thousands of fathers with their

Tony Newman

Drug Policy Alliance

New York
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