Pubdate: Thu, 09 Jan 2003
Source: Watertown Daily Times (NY)
Copyright: 2003 Watertown Daily Times
Author: Larry Seguin
Bookmark: (Drug Courts)


I respectfully suggest taxpayers heed the comments by St Lawrence
County Judge Eugene L. Nicandri concerning Drug Courts. " Probation
department provides most, if not all, of the programs that are
provided by drug courts," he said in the Dec. 19 issue of this paper.

At a time of budget cuts, St. Lawrence County court expands for the
war on politically selected drugs. (None charged with possession or
use of alcohol, the number one abused drug).

Because drug courts are a much less expensive way of handling drug
cases in the criminal justice system they have created more arrest for
smaller amounts of drugs, therefor no substantial savings to the taxpayer.

Are drug courts successful?

Arizona, Drug Treatment and Education Fund Legislative Report Fiscal
Year 1998; of 2622 offenders sent to drug court in 1997 only 568
offenders completed their programs successfully. St. Lawrence County
taxpayers will fund a program that has a known failure rate of 70%!
Does this have something to do with the new $40 million, doubled
capacity jail on the wish list?

While we strive to put more cannabis users in jail, today (2/2/03) 30
miles away in Ontario Canada, Justice Douglas Phillips in Windsor, has
ruled that Canada's law on possession of small amounts of marijuana
(30 grams or less) is no longer valid. A decision lawyers say could
soon spell the end of Canada's prohibition on marijuana.  Both the
Canadian Senates' Special Committee on Illegal Drugs and House of
Common's special report on marijuana policy recommend "decriminalize
the use and cultivation of marijuana for personal use."

It is counterproductive to bring people into the criminal justice
system simply for their choice of drugs, and as we have seen, the
collateral harms to society of trying to prohibit these drugs are enormous.

Focus on an individuals conduct rather than their drug


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