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November 2005
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Prison costs

“bullet” Check out this AP story from North Carolina: Former judge calls drug war a ‘failure’

RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina should consider decriminalizing illegal drugs as it tries to stem the need for additional prisons, a former state Supreme Court chief justice said Monday.

Burley Mitchell, the state’s top judge from 1995 to 1999, said the war on drugs in North Carolina and nationwide has been “a total failure” that has filled up prisons. The money saved if police no longer made arrests and courts no longer handed out sentences could be used to treat drug addicts, he said.[…]Even with double-bunking, the shortfall could reach nearly 2,900 beds in 2010 and 6,500 in 2014, when the projected prison population is 45,312, according to the North Carolina Sentencing and Policy Advisory Commission.

“The state of North Carolina can’t build prisons fast enough,” said Chris Fitzsimon with NC Policy Watch, which co-sponsored the event.

An entire article talking about the costs of prisons and how reducing sentences and changing how we deal with the drug war could save money. And without the usual irrelevant obligatory quote from some sheriff saying “But what about the message we’re giving to children?”
Hmmm… is this starting to work as a pocketbook issue?

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