Pubdate: Tue, 18 Jan 2005
Source: Tribune Review (Pittsburgh, PA)
Copyright: 2005 Tribune-Review Publishing Co.
Author: Robert Sharpe


When it comes to the drug war, mandatory minimum sentences have done little 
other than turn the alleged land of the free into the world's biggest 
jailer ("Sentencing guidelines: Restoring the 6th," Editorial, Jan. 16).

If draconian penalties deterred illegal drug use, the goal of a "drug-free" 
America would have been achieved decades ago. Instead of adding to what is 
already the highest incarceration rate in the world, we should be funding 
drug treatment.

It's worth noting that tobacco use has declined considerably. Public 
education efforts are paying off. Apparently mandatory minimum sentences, 
civil asset forfeiture, random drug testing and racial profiling are not 
necessarily the most cost-effective means of discouraging unhealthy choices.

Robert Sharpe

Washington, D.C.

The writer is a policy analyst with Common Sense for Drug Policy
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