Pubdate: Wed, 10 Mar 1999
Date: 03/10/1999
Source: Sacramento Bee (CA)
Author: Gary R. Davis, M.D.

Re "Other issues nettle Davis," Feb. 21: Dan Walters wants the
governor and Legislature to spend more tax dollars to "build more
prisons or run the risk of being forced to release felons in a few
years." The problem is not too few prisons. The problem is our drug
laws. Violent felons are being released to make room for nonviolent
drug users.

Drug criminalization and lengthy prison sentences for drug violations
have expanded our prisons, restricted our liberties, promoted
corruption in law enforcement, ruined lives, killed innocents and
expanded tax dollars for prisons at the expense of education,
transportation, health care, safety, child care and all legitimate
government services.

All this could be corrected if "drugs" were decriminalized and dealt
with and controlled legally such as alcohol and tobacco. That would
not please the prison guards union, but it would ease a horrific
burden on all of us.

Gary R. Davis, M.D.