His critical August article, titled War on Drugs Has Been Disaster, was published in his column distributed to dozens of US newspapers through King Features Syndicate. In it, Cronkite calls drug war reform “long-overdue,” and makes the point that many US citizens are victimized by the drug war’s “costly and inhumane dimensions.”
While the aging reporter supports severe punishment for “kingpins of the drug trade” and criminals “who ruined so many lives,” he feels that “the majority of prisoners are guilty of only minor offenses, such as possessing small amounts of marijuana. That includes people who used it only for medicinal purposes.”
The people abused by the current legal system are victimized by mandatory sentencing, which means even the tiniest of drug crimes can result in years behind bars.?According to Cronkite, most drug war victims are “thousands of women, many of them mothers of young children.” Their children are inevitably left without motherly care and end up being “the most innocent victims of the drug war and the reason some call it a ‘war on families’ as well as on drugs.”
Cronkite claims “women are the fastest-growing segment of the US prison population, with almost 80% of them incarcerated for drug offenses. The deep perversity of the system lies in the fact that women with the least culpability often get the harshest sentences.”
Cronkite encourages activists and organizations to “reform and reframe the war on drugs.”
And that’s the way it is.
? Cronkite’s article online: mapinc.org/authors/cronkite