The Senate Judiciary Committee today passed S. 714, National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2009. This was Senator Jim Webb’s bill, and it could be extremely important. It still needs to pass the full Senate and the House, etc., but this is a critical step. It’s got strong bi-partisan support in the committee.
Of course, getting the commission is only part of the battle. We need to get some good people on it, make them do their job, and then actually get someone to pay attention to the report when it comes out.
We have quite a history of not paying attention to Commissions when they deliver information that the government doesn’t want to hear.
And we’re not the only ones…
Take a look at Transform’s epic battle to get the Home Office to even release a 2007 report on the cost-effectiveness of drug enforcement efforts. In this updated post today, they really rip into the Home Office:
They had 6 years to address these obvious failings (in data collection and evaluation – let alone outcomes) and utterly failed. There can be no excuses.
The report also demonstrates that the various justifications (see below) given for its suppression during the strategy consultation, and for the following 2 years, were entirely spurious. The Home Office have behaved pathetically, like children in a playground with a secret, and treated the public with contempt in the process. They still are; note the ridiculous redaction of ‘SOCA’ throughout, except in a footnote referring to one of the redactions (they can’t even do censorship properly).
This saga was an attempt to conceal a piece of research that showed the policy in an unflattering light, and its censorship was purely political; a disgrace for the Government and particularly for the Home Office and ministers directly involved.
We will provide a more detailed analysis later, but worthy of note is the item in table 3 on page showing expenditure by police in 05/06 – Â£2 billion out of Â£3 billion total expenditure, Â£1.7 billion of which is ‘indirect costs of dealing with drug-related crime’. It looks suspiciously as if it fits with Transform’s analysis that enforcement creates the very costs that prohibition is supposed to reduce.
Danny Kushlick said:
“The withholding of this report demonstrates yet again how the Government is committed to the rhetoric and fantasy of success of the current strategy, whilst doing its damnedest to keep the truth out of sight of the public. The edifice of prohibition comes crashing down as soon as evidence is pitched up against it. Ultimately we are being duped into supporting a policy that is demonstrably failing to deliver anything even approximating to value for money”