Pubdate: Tue, 22 May 2012
Source: Bakersfield Californian, The (CA)
Copyright: 2012 The Bakersfield Californian
Author: Mike Francel


I disagree with Lisa Green's May 3 op-ed article, "Reducing drug
penalties isn't worth the risk to public safety," which criticized The
Californian's April 29 editorial "Prison reforms require smart
choices." The same day Green's article appeared, The Californian
published a news story titled "Former Mexican president Fox calls drug
war 'useless.'"

In the May 2 letter "Pot laws no deterrent," Robert Sharp of Common 
Sense for Drug Policy wrote that "jail cells are inappropriate as
health interventions and ineffective as deterrents."

The May 8 Community Voices piece by Brik McDill was titled
"Realignment is going to cost Kern more than officials realize."
Former Nixon White House aide Charles Colson, who created Prison
Fellowship Ministries, said in 2001, "You can't leave a person in a
steel cage and expect something good to come out of him when he is

Green thinks being an addict is a serious crime and must be punished
by seeing the inside of a jail cell. The most destructive consequence
of our drug policies is treating patients like criminals, which only
perpetuates their addiction.

Senate Bill 1506 would reduce the penalty for possession of cocaine,
heroin and methamphetamine to a misdemeanor, bringing California in
line with 13 other states and Washington, D.C., and saving $200
million a year, according to the Legislative Analyst's Office.

Not until we reduce the consequences of drug possession to the same as
a traffic ticket will we fully realize financial savings and crime
reduction (in California, property crimes make up 78 percent of all
reported crimes) like Portugal.

Mike Francel

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