In a democratic republic, the “innocent until proven guilty” concept is supposed to be sacrosanct. Jurors, police officers, judges and prosecuting attorneys—at least in theory—are required to err on the side of caution, and if a guilty person occasionally goes free, so be it. But with the war on drugs, the concept of innocent until proven guilty has fallen by the wayside on countless occasions. The war on drugs is not only fought aggressively, it is fought carelessly and haphazardly, and a long list of innocent victims have been killed or maimed in the process.
Attorney General Eric Holder recently addressed the war on drugs during a speech for the American Bar Association’s annual meeting, calling for the United States to seriously reevaluate its harsh policy of mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent, low-level drug offenses. Holder acknowledged that “too many Americans go to too many prisons for far too long and for no truly good law enforcement reason,” and he pointed out that according to one report, black males convicted in drug cases typically receive sentences that are 20% longer than the sentences imposed on white males for similar offenses. It was refreshing to hear an attorney general make those statements; also encouraging is a recent Rasmussen poll finding that 82% of Americans see the war on drugs as a failure.
Many people from across the political spectrum—from the American Civil Liberties Union, the NAACP, the National Urban League and the Rev. Jesse Jackson to right-wing libertarians like Ron Paul, Walter Williams and 2012 Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson—have pointed out that the war on drugs has become much deadlier than the drugs themselves. Innocent civilians have more to fear from botched drug raids and careless police work than they do from drug dealers.
– Read the entire article at AlterNet.