Pubdate: Wed, 24 Mar 1999
Source: St. Petersburg Times (FL)
Copyright: 1999 St. Petersburg Times.
Author: James Bennett, Safety Harbor


Re: Crime is down, yet prisons are full, March 10.

As a Libertarian, I say thanks to the Times for bringing to light what we
knew all along about the drug war. First of all, it is a waste of time and
money. Federal officials are calling for more resources to fight the war on
drugs despite the fact that, as your article pointed out, putting so many
people in jail for using drugs has not cured or deterred anyone.

More important, incarcerating someone for nothing more than a non- violent
drug offense is wrong. These people are guilty of bad judgment, but they
should not be guilty of a crime. When you incarcerate someone, the goal is
first and foremost to protect those on the outside, not necessarily to
punish those on the inside, although that is a natural byproduct of being in
jail. Therefore, only those people whose acts harm another person or
infringe on their rights, through the use of force or fraud, should be
locked up. If we allow anyone to be locked up for simply making a stupid
decision that proves harmful to themselves, don't we all belong on the inside?

James Bennett, Safety Harbor

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