Drug Czar pretends the 1.5 million people arrested every year for nonviolent drug offenses don't exist

Tony Newman of the Drug Policy Alliance says: "Yesterday during a nationally televised event at the National Press Club, Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske repeated the federal government’s claim that they ended the war on drugs in 2009 and are now prioritizing drug treatment and prevention over incarceration. They cite an increase for drug treatment in President Obama’s proposal for the new drug control budget as evidence of their new approach. But their rhetoric does not match the reality – more than 1.5 million people are arrested for nonviolent drug offenses every year."


    1. The Huffington post article shows a sweet picture of Gil Kerlikowske with the face flush indicative of a few too many drinks the night before.

      1. So the federal government is responsible for local and state law enforcement agencies arresting people?

        Clearly Department of Transportation must be responsible for not fixing the pothole in front of my house then too and the Justice Department for banning nudity in San Francisco!

        1. Yes they are! What does the federal government do when the States buck them? They cut their funding. But the States that go along get lots of money for anti-drug police and prisons. If there was actual federalism, the War on Drugs never could have started.

          1. Yes, the same branch of government that controls prosecutorial discretion. If Obama issued an executive order saying drug prosecutions were a waste of time, they would stop. And with the stroke of a pen, he could commute the federal sentences of all drug offenders. Gil Kerlikowske is just Obama’s little vizier who is whispering into his ear that drugs are evil.

          2. Do you have an actual point in there somewhere, or are you just sheldoning over semantics?   the land of the free holds 25% of the worlds prisoner population, mostly for non violent victimless crimes.  exactly what government entity doing the holding doesn’t matter a whole hell of a lot to the guy in a cage.

          3. @boingboing-e2c5182d1b95fa116e841650b6b426cc:disqus

            Dude, what are you so angry about?

            A marijuana user once ate his Cheetos. It was the worst day of his life.

          4. @Aloisius:disqus You don’t need to edit you post. You can just reply to yourself as long as you tell the person you are talking to them. Just quote them if there could be any confusion.

            I’ve seen people smoke pot in front of San Francisco police stations.
            Know who doesn’t deserve any credit for that? The Drug Czar.

            That’s nice. If the feds weren’t raiding and seizing medical marijuana dispensaries, then I might think this was significant.

            Out of curiosity, if this federalism thing worked so well, then why does the federal government perform any drug raids in the US outside of the borders, Washington, D.C., and foreign territories?

            Let’s put this in context. Washington and Colorado legalized marijuana, a drug less harmful than alcohol and tobacco. Could they have done the same with heroin? Would the feds have held back and said “let them decide?” The only reason the feds are holding back on marijuana is because it is popular with the public. If public opinion soured, the feds would invalidate Washington and Colorado’s laws in a heartbeat. This drug policy is not based on federalism, it is based on political support. And political support is not something that should be used when deciding to lock people away in jail for years.

          5. You are obviously a supporter of the federal government’expantion into controlling liberty. OK we get it. You support Obama.  Now do yourself a favor GET the Facts. Are federal drug arrest up or down during this administration? Is the prison industry still the fastest growing industry in the US? Do we still have more people in prison than any other nation? Has that gone down under Obama? NO ONE denies that enforcement of the “Drug Laws” has been bias toward young black males.  How many young black male’s prison sentences has he commuted? Expunged their records? Are the Federal Bounty Hunters still in Africa shipping in slaves to our Federal prison industry? ( Has the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) gotten larger or smaller during the Obama administration?

          6. Yep. Like the Feds cracked down on Massachusetts and other northern states that refused to permit enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act or the Dredd Scott Decision.

        2. Yes, in that the federal government strongly incentivizes said state and local arrests by having large federal anti-drug grant programs that go to places that make a lot of arrests.

  1. Gil Kerlikowske was a complete tool when he was the head of the Seattle PD and he turns out to do the same for President Obama. Kerlikowske does not do any work. He simply deflects blame 24 hours a day. This is why he was the perfect pick for the national drug czar.

  2. If you’re arrested for drug possession, it doesn’t mean you’re incarcerated for drug posession. What’s the INCARCERATION rate? 

    ” prioritizing drug treatment and prevention over incarceration” is all he claimed, so there is no disconnect.

  3. On Dec. 31, 2011, there were 197,050 sentenced prisoners under federal jurisdiction. Of these, 94,600 were serving time for drug offenses, 14,900 for violent offenses, 10,700 for property offenses, and 69,000 for “public order” offenses (of which 22,100 were sentenced for immigration offenses, 29,800 for weapons offenses, and 17.100 for “other”).
    On Dec. 31, 2010, there were 1,362,028 sentenced prisoners under state jurisdiction. Of these, 237,000 were serving time for drug offenses, 725,000 for violent offenses, 249,500 for property offenses, 142,500 for “public order” offenses (which include weapons, drunk driving, court offenses, commercialized vice, morals and decency offenses, liquor law violations, and other public-order offenses), and 7,900 for “other/unspecified”.
    – See more at: http://drugwarfacts.org/cms/Prisons_and_Drugs#sthash.HKv5cLX9.dpuf

  4. I think a few people are missing the point here. It’s not who actually made the arrests, it is the disingenuousness of the statement. Simply stating the Fed is prioritizing treatment and prevention over arrests is just so much fluff. It is merely words which have no effect on the millions of Americans being deprived of their liberty every year. The Feds can stop the insanity right now by directing DEA and FBI agents to stand down.

  5. Prohibitionists DO NOT want to give up control. It is that simple. They ( DEA, etc.) want to have sole discretion as to whether YOU are a CRIMINAL .
    We as a people need to hold Obama and co.’s feet to the fire in order to see change, otherwise no politician, Democrat or Republican will voluntarily relinquish ” prohibition power” or stop feeding from the ” prohibition trough”

Comments are closed.