Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Big Gov. from New Jersey: The war on drugs is a failure

Obama &the Gov
The Urban dictionary definition of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie should read:

Be warned. He is a loud, blustering, bloviating ignoramus who insists on channeling his inner Tony Soprano.( see video )

So, I was pleasantly surprised to hear the Gov keeping it real about the War-on-drugs failure.

"The war on drugs, while well-intentioned, has been a failure," Christie said Monday during a speech at The Brookings Institution. "We're warehousing addicted people everyday in state prisons in New Jersey, giving them no treatment."

Christie stressed the merits of legislation recently passed by New Jersey state lawmakers that institutes a year of mandatory treatment for first-time, nonviolent drug offenders instead of jail time. The mandatory treatment program, slated to be put in place in at least three counties during its first year, will eventually expand statewide over the next five years.

Christie, one of the few Republican lawmakers to actively speak out against the effects of America's drug war policies, sought to put a conservative moral spin on his position. 
"If you're pro-life, as I am, you can't be pro-life just in the womb," he said. "Every life is precious and every one of God's creatures can be redeemed, but they won't if we ignore them." source
And Gov CC went on the compare/contrast treatment vs throw away the key
Perhaps to blunt conservative criticism of the cost of such a program to the state, Christie argued in favor of the economics of drug treatment over incarceration.
"It costs us $49,000 a year to warehouse a prisoner in New Jersey state prisons last year," Christie said. "A full year of inpatient drug treatment costs 24,000 a year." source
Mega kudos to Governor Chris Christie
Gov CC is nationally well respected among conservatives: his East-coast swag -- kick ass and ask questions later -- is a hit within the rank-in-file of the GOP.  And having someone of his stature (hmm... I won't go there -- pun not intended) speak bluntly and honestly about treatment over incarceration is validating.
The USA prison industry is one of our country's true top scandal that is under-reported -- meanwhile most of his party members focus on Fast & Furious scant attention is paid to this International Embarrassment of our Democracy: 
Human rights organizations, as well as political and social ones, are condemning what they are calling a new form of inhumane exploitation in the United States, where they say a prison population of up to 2 million - mostly Black and Hispanic - are working for various industries for a pittance. 

For the tycoons who have invested in the prison industry, it has been like finding a pot of gold. They don't have to worry about strikes or paying unemployment insurance, vacations or comp time. All of their workers are full-time, and never arrive late or are absent because of family problems; moreover, if they don't like the pay of 25 cents an hour and refuse to work, they are locked up in isolation cells.

There are approximately 2 million inmates in state, federal and private prisons throughout the country. According to California Prison Focus, "no other society in human history has imprisoned so many of its own citizens." 

The figures show that the United States has locked up more people than any other country: a half million more than China, which has a population five times greater than the U.S. Statistics reveal that the United States holds 25% of the world's prison population, but only 5% of the world's people. From less than 300,000 inmates in 1972, the jail population grew to 2 million by the year 2000. In 1990 it was one million. Ten years ago there were only five private prisons in the country, with a population of 2,000 inmates; now, there are 100, with 62,000 inmates. It is expected that by the coming decade, the number will hit 360,000, according to reports.

What has happened over the last 10 years? Why are there so many prisoners?

The private contracting of prisoners for work fosters incentives to lock people up. Prisons depend on this income. Corporate stockholders who make money off prisoners' work lobby for longer sentences, in order to expand their workforce. The system feeds itself," says a study by the Progressive Labor Party, which accuses the prison industry of being "an imitation of Nazi Germany with respect to forced slave labor and concentration camps."

The prison industry complex is one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States and its investors are on Wall Street. "This multimillion-dollar industry has its own trade exhibitions, conventions, websites, and mail-order/Internet catalogs. It also has direct advertising campaigns, architecture companies, construction companies, investment houses on Wall Street, plumbing supply companies, food supply companies, armed security, and padded cells in a large variety of colors."

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