Drug Testing Leading to Fuller Prisons as US Becomes “Jailingest” Nation on Earth
Jailing citizens for nonviolent crime rises. Those who want to keep their jobs must know how to pass a drug test, welfare recipients must choose to have their 4th amendment rights violated to receive benefits in a growing number of states.
In a statement delivered the week of September 3, 2012, the United States was named the “jailingest” nation on Earth. This opinion was echoed on “Real Time with Bill Maher” on September 7 by a guest on the show, David Simon, the creator of the HBO series “The Wire” and co-creator of the new series, “Treme.”
According to transcripts of the show, David Simon stated, “The war on drugs is a war on the underclass, that’s all it is. It has no other meaning. If you could be Draconian and reduce drug use by locking people up, you might have an argument. But we are the jailing-est country on the planet right now. Two million people in prison. When I started as a police reporter, 33, 34 percent of the federal inmate population was violent offenders. Now it’s like, seven to eight percent. So, we’re locking up less violent people.”
To be sure, Simon is not the only one thinking it, but he may be the first to have discussed how wasteful jailing people for drug use is. Media outlets on the left seem to be repulsed by the reality David Simon is discussing, and everyone from Charles Ferguson (director of the documentary "Inside Job") to Cenk Uygur of Current TV’s Young Turks are discussing the outrage that those who caused the collapse on Wall Street go free with no prison time—while others have to be able to pass a drug test just to be considered for a part time job.
The question now becomes whether President Obama will focus on ending the War on Drugs if reelected for a second term. Many Libertarians and liberal Democrats consider the War on Drugs to be a key issue, though it does not get the air time that foreign policy, the economy, and job creation gets on any of the major networks. But according to the first installment of “Versus,” The Google+ Debate Series which aired in March of 2012, many Americans agree that having to pass a drug test to have a job is un-American, a trespass on their inalienable rights, and an unnecessary and outdated practice.
Only time will tell who will win the election, but things will look better for Democratic chances in 2016 if Obama takes ending the War on Drugs as seriously as he took finding and ending Osama Bin Laden.
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