Wednesday, 2 November 2005

War on Drugs keeps locking them up

Taken from Hit and Run:
Based on the latest figures from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the 'Drug War Chronicle' estimates that more than 530,000 people were behind bars for drug offenses in the U.S. at the end of last year. Drug offenders accounted for about 25 percent of jail inmates, 21 percent of state prison inmates, and 55 percent of federal prison inmates. The total number of people behind bars was about 2.3 million, an all-time record, giving the U.S. an incarceration rate of 724 per 100,000--the highest in the world, according to the Chronicle, which says [the US] even beats out China this time.
New Zealand has about 6,250 New Zealanders locked up, most of whom deserve to be there. About nine percent however are in there for drug offences, about 600 people. Most drug offending here is at the 'no threat to anyone' end of the scale, but NORML's Arrest-o-Meter calculates there have still been 118470 New Zealanders arrested for cannabis possession since Labour taking office in 1999, and they say "NZ has the highest recorded cannabis arrest rate in the world, at 606 people arrested per 100,000 population per year. The United States is second with 247 arrests per 100,000 population per year."

Drug offending is a victimless crime, but the state still keeps locking up and arresting people for no other reason than that the state disagrees with what they put in their bodies. It's archaic.


  1. Hi PC, I enjoy your blog and value your opinions but in this instance I must disagree. Drug offending may start off victimless, but if the drug use is so high that the brain gets fried, the victims are racked up faster than the body count in a Schwarzenegger movie. The deeds of Willian Bell, Antonie Dixon, Ese Junior Faleali'i and Steven Williams are testament to that. People who smoke cannabis are more likely to try harder stuff I'm afraid, then it's game over.

  2. Oh, Jeez... here we go again. Funny that you should mention Willian Bell, Antonie Dixon, Ese Junior Faleali'i and Steven Williams. Because I suspect they're the only murderers you can name who have committed murder in the last 4 years and who also happened to be using methamphetamine. One murderer per year. Out of 100.

    Was methamphetamine to blame, or just blamed? The evidence suggests the latter.

    "People who smoke cannabis are more likely to try harder stuff I'm afraid, then it's game over." It's true that people who smoke cannabis are more likely to try other drugs. But "game over" is not the usual outcome. These people are just as likely to go on to become celebrities, sports heroes, news readers, politicians and role models for our children."

  3. Most of these 'celebrity crims' have a long history of offending.

    If they were made responsible for these offenses, they would be inside the wire, breaking rocks. Not no parole or out after a pitiful slap on the hand.

    This is the real issue, not the drugs.

  4. Economists are saying legalise marihuana in the US, this open letter came into existence earlier in the year

    Milton Friedmans at the top of the list.

  5. Sorry Richard, I've just seen the lives of a couple of individuals, and people close to them destroyed by the migration from grass to P.
    One work mate is in Mt Eden on 42 burglary counts, attempting to raise capital for drugs.

    Seriously, What Utopia do you live in ? Live life on the coal face before trying to belittle me.

  6. Unfortunatly most of the damage you discribe is caused by prohibition. You can directly compare the effects of drug prohibition to the effects of prohibition of alcohol in the US early in the 20th century. Gangs got wealthy as people didn't stop boozing; they just got it through the black market.

    When was the last time you heard of someone burglarising houses to get his alcohol fix?

    To quote the economists I linked to above; "Existing evidence, however, suggests prohibition has minimal benefits and may itself cause substantial harm."


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