10 July 2012

Wasting Resources and Corrupting the System

This visual display of US federal prisoners by category of offense helps to place the US system of law enforcement and imprisonment into perspective.
There are currently 93,876 Americans serving time in federal prisons for drug crimes, which is by far the No. 1 offense that results in a federal jail sentence (see chart). Drug offenders make up almost half of our federal inmate population, and that help explains why the U.S. retains the status as the World's No.1 Jailer with a prison population of 730 per 100,000 population, more than even any of the world's most notorious and oppressive regimes like Burma (120 per 100,000 population), Cuba (510 per 100,000 population), and Iran (333 per 100,000). _MJPerry
US popular demand for illegal drugs drives a huge global industry of drug-related profit making -- from Burma to Afghanistan to Bolivia to Colombia to Mexico and beyond. The gigantic profits in the drug trade lead to the corruption of military, paramilitary, and civilian enforcers in every nation that is touched by the illicit drug industry.

The drug trade likewise generates high rates of violence, as competing groups vie for control of lucrative drug transport and distribution routes and territories.

The only reasonable strategy for achieving a more rational balance of imprisonment, as well as reducing drug related corruption and violent crime, is to slash the profitability of the drug trade.

The answer is not a simple one, given the all too demonstrable human weakness for self-medication, experimentation, social augmentation, escapism, and the chemical manipulation of others.

On the one hand, we are faced with bloated and corrupted governmental agencies which resist any change in current practises. On another hand, we are faced with a strong societal fear of what would happen to the working links of societies, should burden-easing drugs become too readily available.

This fear of societal dissolution in the face of the legalisation of drugs is far more realistic now, than it would have been 150 years ago, when modern anti-drug laws and enforcement were not in effect. The overprotectiveness of an all-pervading nanny state has yielded a cumulative effect on the public character of dependency, helplessness, and a lack of internal grit, substance and sense of solid purpose.

Such persons -- who are today all too common -- have very few defenses against the promise of easy euphoria, megalomania, or sense of calm, peaceful fulfillment from a chemical.

In other words, a sudden and complete legalisation of illegal drugs is likely to create a number of strong and disruptive wave effects crashing through society.

That would not necessarily be completely bad, as long as the productive and protective aspects of society were prepared for the event well ahead of time.

What we are doing now is certainly not sustainable.

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Blogger lelnet said...

Of course, in a Constitution-respecting world, most of those categories would show zero (or near enough to zero that it doesn't show up on a typical monitor). Of the categories listed, only "Immigration" and "Counterfeit and embezzlement" (well, OK...probably some stuff under "Miscellaneous" too, and some of the "Fraud", if the defrauded entity is the federal government itself, or the fraud is perpetrated on a national scale) legitimately qualify as concerns of the federal government at all.

Tuesday, 10 July, 2012  
Blogger Tim said...

I put it to you that most of the people who want to take drugs, are taking drugs. The cost of increased drug usage would be negligible compared to the benefit of ending the war on drugs.

Tuesday, 10 July, 2012  
Blogger SwampWoman said...

It would be nice if Corzine and associates were under one of those prison statistics but I suppose when somebody steals billions of peoples' savings and remits it to Obama, that isn't a crime. It isn't like they were sitting in their house and smoking marijuana or something reprehensible like that.

Wednesday, 11 July, 2012  
Blogger Matt M said...

Interestingly enough - the laws against drugs are based upon the Commerce Clause in the Constitution. It is not against Federal law to consume drugs. It is illegal to buy or sell drugs - or possess them for sale.

The SCOTUS justices a hundred years ago did not believe the govt could tell people what they could or could not put into their own bodies in a free society. (Boy times have changed!)

Wednesday, 11 July, 2012  
Blogger al fin said...

When the government pays for the healthcare of citizens, government automatically obtains a proprietary right to monitor, dictate, or prohibit any activity of the citizen which impacts upon his or her health.

Up until now, that governmental right has been exercised in limited ways. You can expect that to change in the near future.

Wednesday, 11 July, 2012  

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