Tom Moran’s column in the Sunday Star-Ledger – Booker redirects his anger at the war on drugs – summed up the conundrum of the failed policies of the “drug war”.
We are creating more interrelated problems when we spend a fortune on a policy that does not work. Cory’s anger over the failures should be our anger as well. We need to change course and create opportunities for successful diversion from jail.
In addition, the solution for the rentry population being discharged from prison is creating permanent, affordable and supportive housing.
The following is a brief summary from Mr. Moran’s opinion column.
The problem, he [Mayor Booker] says, is New Jersey’s tough tactics in the drug war. We are heavy on jail time and unforgiving even when prisoners finish their terms. At a time when even states like Texas are changing course, we are sticking with our failed strategy.
The result is to turn thousands of young men into economic cripples and to give the crime wave in Newark a flood of fresh recruits. Booker describes it as almost an economic genocide against African-American men in his city.
And if it doesn’t change, he says, he’s ready to go to jail in protest, in the tradition of the civil rights movement.
“I’m going to battle on this,” the mayor says. “We’re going to start doing it the gentlemanly way. And then we’re going to do the civil disobedience way. Because this is absurd.”
This sounds very similar to the failure to end homelessness by choosing to manage the problem instead of solving it.
“New Jersey may be a liberal state — but not when it comes to the drug war. Our prison system, which costs just over $1 billion a year, is stuffed with nonviolent drug offenders. They take up about one-third of all the beds, the highest portion in the country. Our barriers to employment after prison are also among the nation’s toughest.”
In closing, Cory’s anger over the failures of the drug war should be our anger as well.
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