Friday, April 08, 2005

Just the Facts, Ma'am 

Browsing the facts:

The U.S. government spends more than $33 billion annually in its War on Drugs. Although drug prohibition is a federal policy that has been in effect for almost eighty years, the “war” was begun by Richard Nixon. It arrests around 1.5 million people annually to enforce drug prohibition. More than 318,000 people are currently behind bars for breaking U.S. drug laws. This is more than the total number of people incarcerated for all crimes in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain combined. 1.46 million black men out of a total voting population of 10.4 million have lost their right to vote due to felony convictions. Thirteen percent of all adult black men--1.4 million--are disenfranchised, representing one-third of the total disenfranchised population and reflecting a rate of disenfranchisement that is seven times the national average. Election voting statistics offer an approximation of the political importance of black disenfranchisement: 1.4 million black men are disenfranchised compared to 4.6 million black men who voted in 1996. Due to harsh new sentencing guidelines, such as “three-strikes, you're out," a disproportionate number of young Black and Hispanic men are likely to be imprisoned for life under scenarios in which they are guilty of little more than a history of untreated addiction and several prior drug-related offenses. States will absorb the staggering cost of not only constructing additional prisons to accommodate increasing numbers of prisoners who will never be released but also warehousing them into old age. The U.S. nonviolent prisoner population is larger than the combined populations of Wyoming and Alaska.

Wonder how many of those 1.4 million disenfranchised would vote GOP? Wonder how many of these nonviolent three strikes lifers would?

The above culled from Drug War Facts, a veritable tome of disturbing facts and figures.

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