Pubdate: Wed, 06 Sep 2006
Source: Waco Tribune-Herald (TX)
Copyright: 2006 Waco-Tribune Herald
Author: Robert Sharpe


Regarding Ronald Fraser's guest column Aug. 26 about Texas' "lock 'em
up" culture: Texas is not the only state grappling with overcrowded
prisons. Throughout the nation, states facing budget shortfalls are
pursuing alternatives to incarceration for nonviolent drug offenders.

A study by the RAND Corp. found that every additional dollar invested
in substance abuse treatment saves taxpayers $7.48 in societal costs.

Far more is at stake than tax dollars. The drug war is not the
promoter of family values some would have us believe. Children of
inmates are at risk of educational failure, joblessness, addiction and

Incarcerating non-violent drug offenders alongside hardened criminals
is the equivalent of providing them with a taxpayer-funded education
in anti-social behavior.

Turning drug users into unemployable ex-cons is a senseless waste of
tax dollars.

It's time to declare peace in the failed drug war. Treat it as the
public health problem it is.

Destroying the futures and families of citizens who make unhealthy
choices doesn't benefit anyone. Drug abuse is bad. The drug war is

Robert Sharpe,

Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, DC
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