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Is incarceration for drug charges truly effective?

Last week on this blog, we looked at the changing face of incarceration in the Louisiana penal system. Much of the focus in that post was in regard to the penalties now being handed down for drug charges. This week we will look at Sociopolitical Research regarding drug-crime related incarceration.

The research chosen for this post is intended to demonstrate that current drug incarceration policies may not be effectively serving their intended purpose. This is assuming that the intended purpose of these policies is to reduce drug use and make society safer. As such, here are some research findings that call into question the current approach to drug crime punishment:

  • Over the last 20 years, state prisons have seen a 550 percent increase in the number of people housed for drug crimes.
  • Prison overcrowding and increased prison costs can be traced to the rise of drug related incarceration.
  • Incarceration of drug dealers does not serve as a deterrent to the sale of drugs. Once one dealer is incarcerated, they are generally quickly replaced by another.
  • The new dealers may be younger and more inclined to exhibit violent behavior than those dealers they replaced.
  • Many law enforcement authorities are currently in agreement with prominent researchers who believe the incarceration of the lower level foot soldiers in drug dealing gangs has negligible effect on criminal activity.

The research cited here certainly indicates that the harsh sentences often imposed by the legal system on accused drug criminals may not be working toward creating overall improvements in society.

If you are facing drug charges, you need to do all in your power to avoid being brought into a penal system that is demonstrating itself as being potentially very flawed. Your best offense is to get assistance for your defense, which could be in the form of a Louisiana defense lawyer. A lawyer can examine the specifics of your arrest and may be able to find ways to limit or even prevent punitive measures.

Source: drugwarfacts.org, “Drug Offenders in the Correctional System” 

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