Trump’s Adding Death Penalty to Failed Drug Policies
In New Hampshire this week, Pres. Trump rolled out his new proposals to combat our drug crisis—including, the opioid epidemic. Unfortunately, major aspects of his drug proposals are just a rehash of the Reagan era’s “War on Drugs.” As we all know, the punitive Reagan drug policies did not end our national addiction crisis. Trump not only calls out for mandatory minimum sentences, but adds his own twist to that failed policy.Trump wants the death penalty for drug offenders, as he succintly stated, “where appropriate under current law.”
Mandatory sentencing and the three strike law removed discretion from courts in sentencing offenders, who did not deserve long sentences. These harsh policies were a major factor in creating our “Mass Incarceration Crisis.”The United States has the most inmates in the world–25%.
However, Pres. Trump goes one step further—he wants to impose the death sentence for major drug dealers.Trump was in awe of Philippines drug policies under President Rodrigo Duterte. Since becoming President in 2016, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has imposed his “war on drugs” with a death total over 12,000–mostly urban poor Filipinos. Trump has congratulated Duterte on his drug policies.
The United States imposed strict sentencing policies in the 1980’s and 1990’s and they failed. Mark Kleiman, a drug policy expert at the Marron Institute at New York University, stated, “We did the experiment. In 1980, we had about 15,000 people behind bars for drug dealing. And now we have about 450,000 people behind bars for drug dealing.”We never won the drug war.
Strict punishments are counterproductive. They punish people who need treatment, not prison. Often the difference between a dealer and a user is very gray. A 2017 Bureau of Justice Statistics report, stated “nearly a third of drug offenders (30 percent of state prisoners and 29 percent of jail inmates) said they committed the offense to get drugs or money for drugs.”In other words, they were addicts, who needed treatment.
Ironically, in terms of opioids, who are the major drug dealers–the big drug companies! Are we going to impose the death sentence on the pharmaceutical’s CEO’s?
The death penalty is not the answer to the drug epidemic, unless we want to become a third world dictatorship.
Posted by: Bradley Schwartz
Founder of prisonpath.com
Trump is a moron of all morons , then let first put all the heads of big Pharma and all their bought and paid government legislators on death row !! These are the real drug pushers that have a strangle hold on the American people !!
Trump is sticking to his agenda of taking us further and further away from intelligent policies. Where does he come up with these ideas? (I am retired after 50 years in the drug treatment business in Newark, NJ)
He’s not really adding it. Just hyperbole. Law bars DP absent a murder conviction, and section of Kingpin Act that would facilitate DP here is extremely rarely used.
Regardless of the high degree of non-actionable hyperbole, the act of sending such a message, and the message itself, constitutes a monumental disservice to those who are seeking to progress against the drug trade and the fall-out on communities and individuals nationwide. It is chilling in its implications…and all the more so being that there are policy makers who will jump on the bandwagon.
Lee says it best… this faux leader creating more fear for “addicts” running amuck while proffering illusion of having power over the law!
I agree with you, Ms. Lee Ustinich.
Another one of Trump’s stupid ideas!
Why not ? Big Pharma has killed 300,000 since 1999 .. Ruined millions of lives with benzos .. Antidepressants .. Artificial heroin painkillers. Made billions $ .. Yearly estimates .. 450 billion n donate 4.5 billion to lobbyists. Look up the Sackler family. Started with Valium in 1973.
I wouldn’t do that donnie. They’ll be waiting for you in prison. Retaliation is sweet.