National Criminal Justice Commission one step closer

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.

More on this at the NORML blog and ACLU blog.

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 – £2 billion out of £3 billion total expenditure, £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”


This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to National Criminal Justice Commission one step closer

  1. Just me says:

    So is this ‘the shaffer commision II’ ? There are those in government that know this will be a blow to the way they conduct law enforcement today, many will fight the findings. The only difference this time, we wont let some one sweep it under the rug. We all have a general Idea of what this commision will find, especially in the realm of drugs and drug enforcement…or should I say should find.

  2. tint guy says:

    The bill isn’t all the way through yet and you can bet that those who stand to lose the most are already gaming to distort the truth before it even makes it on paper.
    At the time of the Wickersham Commission (which was the ultimate demise of the prohibition of alcohol) the part of the opposition with the most money and back door influence was the big bootleggers but now we have all these quasi-legal entities like the prison and law enforcement unions to contend with.
    As mentioned in the article ours isn’t the only country to ignore the findings of a commission if they don’t think it to be “politically feasible”.

    Now with this Supreme Court ruling allowing corporations to make campaign donations and advertise for politicians our battle just got uglier.

  3. kaptinemo says:

    To paraphrase Frederick the Great, “The money! The money! Always the money!” Don’t let up on the money aspect of drug prohibition…not on this side of The Pond, or the other. Don’t let up on how much this costs the taxpayers of either nation in a time of near universal fiscal meltdown.

    For this hits home much deeper for the average person than any cerebral academic duels ever could. Which do the electorate want to fund? Jail cells for cannabists, or unemployment bennies? Emergency housing shelters for the former Working and Middle (and now newly destitute) Classes , or prisons for the non-violent? School lunches, or DARE programs that feed nothing but BS? Can’t have both, anymore; the time’s come for hard decisions that no amount of prohib rhetoric can delay any longer. And legislators that don’t tumble to this fast enough will find themselves out in the cold with many of their constituents.

  4. permanentilt says:

    Funny thing kaptin, they never actually wanted unemployment, housing, school lunches, welfare, healthcare anyways. Most of them believe this is the work of evil socialists, so I wouldn’t expect them to jump on the commen sense bandwagon just yet. Lets just hope this country doesn’t take another severe neo-con turn.

  5. tint guy says:

    oops… this part of my previous post was incorrect…”allowing corporations to make campaign donations”… They can only pummel us with advertising for their puppets.

  6. claygooding says:

    We are a nation of people ruled by corporations and money institutions,It is the golden rule,he who has the gold rules.
    And there in lies the problem for the prohibitionists. Although they can buy your legislators votes,they can’t manufacture the tax dollars to pay for increased imprisonment,or even the money to build the “treatment centers” that the drug czar has hinted that they will be going too in drug user level crimes.
    With the ending of the International side of the war on drugs,how far will their common sense go? The commission that decided that the fighting drugs all over the world was a failure,maybe someone now will pass the same justified call on the one they are still exercising on their own citizens.

  7. kaptinemo says:

    “Funny thing kaptin, they never actually wanted unemployment, housing, school lunches, welfare, healthcare anyways. Most of them believe this is the work of evil socialists, so I wouldn’t expect them to jump on the commen sense bandwagon just yet. Lets just hope this country doesn’t take another severe neo-con turn.”

    Permanentilt, WRT to social safety net programs, the idea that was prevalent throughout the past 20 years was that the fiscal candle could be burned at both ends ad infinitum courtesy of the go-go economy. ‘Guns and butter’. Doing so was supposed to remove the necessity for any social safety net. Most people are finding out the reality was always guns or butter…and that safety net must always be maintained because someday you WILL need it, as millions of Americans are finding out the hard way.

    A trillion dollars blown since the late 1960’s on drug prohibition means no safety net for those who need it right now. 40 billion a year wasted on a pointless drug war when families are facing unemployment, homelessness and hunger. Those truths must be said at every opportunity. It has to get personal to the ‘man in the street’, especially when it comes to the recently unemployed and newly desperate. Do that often enough, and there’ll be plenty of people who will be asking hard questions of pols. The kind of questions that will not be satisfied with form letters.

  8. Shap says:

    Passed unanimously, wow so even drug warriors such as Tom Coburn and Chuck Grassley voted for this. Pretty shocking.

  9. Hope says:

    Tom Coburn and Chuck Grassley

    Makes me wonder. Has the commission been pre-gutted?

  10. Nick Zentor says:

    It wouldn’t be the first time, Hope. Commissions like this generally are white-washed from the get-go by Machiavellians that hide shrewd, deceptive tricks up their sleeves. Just one phony prohib-repug in the right position could sabotage the whole thing and join his friends at the prohib-club to laugh about it later.

Comments are closed.