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August 2006
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The drug war fills up Illinois prisons

A new report was issued this week about drug incarceration in Illinois, and I got a chance to glance at the actual report last night. Online versions of the report should be available soon. Some really powerful statistics. The Chicago Tribune reports:

After two decades of steadily toughening laws, Illinois now puts more people in prison for drug crimes than any state except California, according to a study released Tuesday by Roosevelt University.
The report also found that more people are being incarcerated for possessing narcotics than for selling them and that the state’s prisons hold about five black inmates convicted of drug offenses for every white inmate–one of the largest racial disparities in the country.
The findings cast doubt on the fairness and effectiveness of Illinois’ long campaign against illegal drugs, said Kathleen Kane-Willis, a researcher at Roosevelt’s Institute for Metropolitan Affairs.
“Just locking folks up is not reducing our drug problems, but it’s sure costing us a lot of money,” she said.

And here’s a pretty revealing statistic:

Illinois incarceration by drug offense:

Sale Possession
1983 264 180
2002 5,761 6,999

Update: Title of post changed to make more sense.

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