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Drug Punishment

             drug policy has taken the approach of imprisoning anyone connected with illegal drugs. During these years the drug use has increased, and the majority of drug offenders released from jail return. Also because of mandatory jail time for drug offenders the nation's jails are extremely overcrowded. The U.S. is now the operator of the worlds largest prison system, and spends nearly $9 billion dollars a year to keep drug offenders in jail (55% of which are classified as low level offenders, or not dangerous.) It is time to re-evaluate our nations drug policy, and try a new drug prevention program.
             The 8th amendment states that punishment should be fair according to the crime committed. In Washington, a 68 year old man was imprisoned and lost his 3 bedroom house and the land it was on after he was found growing a couple marijuana plants to help ease his cluster headaches. In Utah, a 80 year old man lost his 160 acre ranch after someone found a handful of marijuana plants growing on a remote corner of his land, which he did not even know about. Billy Munnerlyn lost his privately owned air charter business, after he transported a man carrying illegal drugs. Munnerlyn had no connection or knowledge of the drugs. Now ask yourself, Does this seem fair?.
             What I"m proposing is a program that focuses on rehabilitation rather than punishment. We need to get rid of mandated prison sentences for minor drug offenders. The best alternative to this solution is an intensive , supervised, rehabilitation system. This program should include community service, job training, and mandatory participation in proven drug treatment programs. As stated in the preamble of the constitution, our government strives towards the general welfare of our society. This program will give drug offenders a chance to turn their lives around and become productive, tax paying, law abiding citizens. Studies have shown that forcing drug users into rehab helps them come lean, and significantly reduces the re-arrest rate.

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