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Prohibition Causes Crime

Posted today at Alternet, A Prohibition-Style Crime Wave, by Anthony Gregory, The Independent Institute:

the more the government spends on the drug war, the more violent crime increases. Eliminating drug prohibition could reduce the homicide rate in the U.S. by 25 to 75 percent, according to economist Jeffrey A. Miron.

In his research for Drug War Crimes: The Consequences of Prohibition, Dr. Miron found that homicide rates and drug-law enforcement move in tandem in a variety of ways. As the drug war intensifies, the black market in drugs becomes more profitable, and those willing to risk prosecution and heavy prison time often become more willing to flout the law in other ways. Gang warfare becomes the norm, just as it did with alcohol prohibition, and innocent bystanders fall victim to the crossfire spawned by the drug laws. Dealers in the illegal drug trade have no nonviolent recourse in the courts or through legal arbitration to resolve disputes, and arguments over drug transactions or other matters fuel violent score settling within the illicit drug market.

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I’ve mentioned Miron and his work before, but it’s always great to see this kind of analysis discussed.
This concept is something that is not a huge surprise to those of us in drug policy reform, but it can seem counter-intuitive to the lay person who has had it drilled into their head that more laws and more penalties are needed to reduce crime.

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