Pubdate: Thu, 26 May 2011
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2011 Los Angeles Times
Author: Wesley Mason


Re "State ordered to slash inmate levels," May 24

I would be happy to see the release of the thousands now incarcerated
for nonviolent crimes such as possession of marijuana or cocaine. I do
not see them as a threat. If, for much lower cost, they receive drug
treatment, education and job training in the community and are allowed
to freely participate in society, most will become law-abiding,
productive Americans.

That most nonviolent "drug offenders" in prison are African American
or Latino reflects not the prevalence of drug use but the way the "war
on drugs" has been focused on those communities. Current policies
created a class of permanently stigmatized Americans labeled as "felons."

Let's end the unjust mass incarceration frenzy of the last 30 years.
There is a better way.

Wesley Mason

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