Pubdate: Wed, 29 Apr 2015
Source: Baltimore Sun (MD)
Copyright: 2015 The Baltimore Sun Company
Author: Michael Cheatham


Your editorial "Why Freddie Gray ran" (April 25) did an exceptional 
job of capturing the problem facing not only Sandtown-Winchester but 
much of black America.

I lived in Sandtown-Winchester for 35 years and taught in the 
Baltimore City Public Schools for 40 years. My experiences tell me 
that changing the social conditions in poor and minority communities, 
not policing, is the answer to our crime problem.

If we end the war on drugs and work to address the problems that it 
caused we can make our state and nation better, safer places for us all.

We could begin by legalizing marijuana and using the tax revenues 
from its sale to rebuild our city and provide treatment for our addicts.

We could release all of the people arrested for nonviolent drug 
crimes. Rather than spending $25,000 a year to incarcerate them, we 
could spend $15,000 on repairing our infrastructure and the other 
$10,000 on training and paying them to work on such projects.

They could work until their sentences have been completed, then 
re-enter society with the full rights of a citizen. If the so-called 
"war on drugs" has taught us anything, it is that destroying lives 
does not build communities.

Michael Cheatham
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