Michele Waslin: Because ICE categorizes criminal offenses so broadly, minor offenses can appear to be serious crimes. For example, drug-related crimes can include everything from dealing large amounts to simple possession;
Michelle Alexander: The uncomfortable truth, however, is that crime rates do not explain the sudden and dramatic mass incarceration of African Americans during the past 30 years. Crime rates have fluctuated over the last few decades — they are currently are at historical lows — but imprisonment rates have consistently soared. Quintupled, in fact. And the vast majority of that increase is due to the War on Drugs.
“Junkie. Pothead. That’s where I’d been headed: the final, fatal role of the young would-be black man.” So wrote current U.S. president Barack Obama about his youth. In May 2009, Jabrai Jordan Copney, a black man, allegedly shot Justin Cosby, a black man, inside a Harvard University dormitory. Cosby fled, collapsed a block away, and [...]
Drug wars in northern Mexico, fed by guns and money from the United States, and spilling over into this country, remind us that the trade in illegal drugs remains a huge problem. We have been engaged since around 1970 in a succession of efforts by successive administrations to wage war on illegal drug trafficking, and [...]