New FBI numbers reveal failure of “War on Drugs”
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The FBI released a new report today showing that nationwide, police in the U.S. conduct one drug arrest every 20 seconds and one marijuana arrest every 42 seconds. Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a group of police, prosecutors, judges and other law enforcement officials opposed to the war on drugs, pointed to the figures showing almost 750,000 marijuana arrests and more than 1.5 million total drug arrests in 2012 as evidence that no matter how aggressively we conduct it, this is a war that can never be won.
“These numbers represent a tremendous loss of human potential. Each one of those arrests is the story of someone who may suffer a variety of adverse effects from their interaction with the justice system,” said LEAP executive director Neill Franklin, a cop for 34 years. “Commit a murder or a robbery and the government will still give you a student loan. Get convicted for smoking a joint and you’re likely to lose it. This is supposed to help people get over their drug habit?”
“Every time a police officer makes an arrest for drugs, that’s several hours out of his or her day not spent going after real criminals. As the country has been investing more and more of its resources into prosecuting drug ‘crime,’ the rate of unsolved violent crime has been steadily increasing. Where are our priorities here?” asked retired lieutenant commander Diane Goldstein, another LEAP speaker.
Today’s FBI report, which can be found at http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2012/crime-in-the-u.s.-2012/persons-arrested/persons-arrested, shows that 82.2 percent of all drug arrests in 2012 were for possession only and 42.4 percent of all drug arrests were for possession of marijuana (88% of all marijuana arrests).
Marijuana arrests were down slightly this year from 2011, but arrests for all drug abuse violations increased. This is perhaps reflective of the growing number of communities who have legalized and regulated marijuana for medical and recreational use.
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) is a group of more than 100,000 law enforcement officials and other supporters who, after fighting the war on drugs, now advocate for its end.
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