Pubdate: Sun, 02 Apr 2000
Date: 04/02/2000
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Author: Naneen Karraker


Marsha Rosenbaum (Open Forum, March 24) eloquently explained the
futility of the War on Drugs nationwide. For many Californians, that
war is also brutal, resulting in the incarceration of thousands of
mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, cousins and friends. Though the
state is increasing its funding of drug treatment programs both inside
and outside prisons, the effort is still insufficient.

Forty-four percent of the nearly 12,000 women in California state
prisons were sentenced on drug charges. Over 40,000 men in our state
prisons were sentenced on drug charges. Housing them all requires the
equivalent of over nine 5,000-bed modern megaprisons.

And, thanks to our "Three Strikes and You're Out" law, over 1,100 men
and women are serving 25-years-to-life sentences for drug charges.
More than half of them were convicted of simple possession. If that
isn't brutal, I don't know what is.

Naneen Karraker,
Coordinator, Criminal Justice Consortium, Oakland