Editorial in today’s New York Times (New Jersey Edition)
New Jersey is missing out on an excellent ( if necessarily incomplete ) remedy for its fiscal crisis. Sadly, the only reason is that the state’s elected officials have been too scared to touch it.
The remedy is to change the state’s misguided drug laws. They were designed years ago to reduce illegal drug use by forcing judges to imprison just about every nonviolent offender who came before them. Not only have the laws not solved the drug problem, they have been counterproductive and terribly unfair. Thousands of young drug users have been put in prison, reducing their chances for treatment at an age when it could turn their lives around. […]
The more sensible course would be to stop imprisoning these low-level offenders, divert some of the savings for treatment, and use the millions of dollars left over to reduce the fiscal deficit. It is time that Trenton learned this lesson.