Pubdate: Sun, 15 Mar 2009
Source: Ogdensburg Journal/Advance News (NY)
Copyright: 2009 Johnson Newspaper Corp.
Address: : P.O. box 409 Ogdensburg NY 13669
Author: Lee Monnet


To The Editor;

Managing Editor Jim Reagen editorials have criticized anyone who dares
to back the reform of the draconian Rockefeller drug laws. The reasons
Mr. Reagen use for resisting change are plausible but data and
research from various agencies put a different light on the issue. The
scope of drug law reform is so large that it would be impossible to
supply the managing editor with all the pertinent information in this
letter but, I chose some interesting facts that I would hope give Mr.
Reagen and Mr. Kelly a different perspective on the issue.  One last
thing I would like to mention to Mr. Reagen is that it's not only
Democrats that are seeking drug law reform; there are Republicans,
Libertarians and Independent Party members in the advocacy for change.

1. "Department of corrections data show that about a fourth of those
initially imprisoned for nonviolent crimes are sentenced for a second
time for committing a violent offense. Whatever else it reflects, this
pattern highlights the possibility that prison serves to transmit
violent habits and values rather than to reduce them."

2. State prisons held a total of 1,296,700 inmates on all charges at
year end 2005. In absolute numbers an estimated 687,700 inmates in
State prison at year end 2005 (the latest year for which offense data
is available) were held for violent offenses: 253,300 were for drug

3.   Federal prisons were estimated to hold 179,204 sentenced inmates
as of Sept. 30, 2007. Of these, 15,647 were incarcerated for violent
offenses. A total of 95,446 were incarcerated for drug offenses.

4.   According to the American Corrections Association, the average
daily cost per state prison inmate per day in the US is $67.55. State
prisons held 253,300 inmates for drug offenses in 2005. That means
states spent approximately $17,110,415 per day to imprison drug
offenders, or $6,245,301,475 per year

6.    According to ONDCP, federal spending to incarcerate drug
offenders totals nearly $3 Billion a year -- $2.525 Billion by the
Bureau of Prisons, and $429.4 Million by Federal Prisoner Detention

7.   Prosecutors, not judges, have the discretion to decide whether to
reduce a charge, whether to accept or deny a plea bargain, whether to
reward or deny a defendant's "substantial assistance" or cooperation
in the prosecution of someone else, and ultimately, to determine what
the final sentence will be.

8.    The RAND Corporation study found that additional domestic law
enforcement efforts cost 15 times as much as treatment to achieve the
same reduction in societal costs.

Lee Monnet
- ---
MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin