Pubdate: Thu, 21 Jun 2001
Source: Boulder Weekly (CO)
Copyright: 2001 Bolder Weekly
Author: Dale Hill
Bookmark: (Incarceration)
Bookmark: (Treatment)


As an inmate in the federal prison system, I try to stay up to date with
current events by reading the newspapers daily. Lately what I have been
reading alarms me. I hope that it concerns you as well. President Bush
is asking congress for $4.66 billion for the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
Mr. William J. Bennett thinks it's time to intensify the war on drugs.
Then I read where the Drug Enforcement Agency office in San Juan Puerto
Rico has been caught falsifying arrest reports.

Americans, are we fighting the drug war to the best of our ability?
We've been engaged in it since the Nixon years. It is pretty obvious we
can't incarcerate our way to victory. Would our tax dollars be better
spent on treatment and education?

I'm no expert, but here's my opinion after eight years of incarceration.
I see a lot of 18, 19 and 20-year-old young men come into the prison
system with sentences of 10 years or more, just like me. Most are
non-violent, low-level drug offenders. And like myself, the reason
they're caught up in the drug lifestyle is because of their addiction.
One of the easiest ways for addicts to supply their habits is to deal
drugs, or some other means of crime. I'm not saying we're right by doing
so, by no means! But is it justice when people who have an addiction get
lengthy prison sentences, when all they really need is treatment?

I'd like to close by saying yes, I'm guilty of breaking the law of this
land and I regret it. But please people, let's reconsider the way we're
fighting this war on drugs.

Dale Hill, federal inmate/Goldsboro, N.C.
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