Pubdate: Fri, 15 May 2015
Source: Oklahoman, The (OK)
Copyright: 2015 The Oklahoma Publishing Co.
Author: Richard Janopaul


Regarding "Momentum building for justice reform" (Point of View, May 
9): J.C. Watts recommends "shortening prison sentences for nonviolent 
offenders - or diverting people from prison altogether" to reduce 
prison costs. What he doesn't say: Nonviolent offenders are drug 
users supporting their addiction selling drugs to other users.

Oklahoma isn't the place to rethink 100 years of failed attempts to 
control narcotics and "dangerous drugs" by criminal laws prohibiting 
possession or sale of drugs. It started with the federal Harrison Act 
(opium, 1912), leading every state to prosecute drug users/sellers 
since the 1930s. Former Congressman Watts and his task force on 
federal corrections reform need to determine whether criminal justice 
systems are suitable for folks addicted to drugs. They may discover 
drug addictions increased during the "war on drugs." Invest taxpayer 
money in treatment programs. That's much cheaper than doubling 
Oklahoma's prison population. Transfer narcotic enforcement officers 
to street patrols. Let them arrest real criminals.

Richard Janopaul

Oklahoma City
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom