The “war on drugs” is one of the most irrational, idiotic and destructive public policy failures in American history, and that’s saying a lot. I’ve covered this topic many times at Liberty Blitzkrieg, but nothing spells it out like the repentant words of a former federal judge, who admittedly ruined countless lives for no reason.
From the Atlantic:
ASPEN, Colo.—Former Federal Judge Nancy Gertner was appointed to the federal bench by Bill Clinton in 1994. She presided over trials for 17 years. And Sunday, she stood before a crowd at The Aspen Ideas Festival to denounce most punishments that she imposed.
Among 500 sanctions that she handed down, “80 percent I believe were unfair and disproportionate,” she said. “I left the bench in 2011 to join the Harvard faculty to write about those stories––to write about how it came to pass that I was obliged to sentence people to terms that, frankly, made no sense under any philosophy.”
She went on to savage the War on Drugs at greater length. “This is a war that I saw destroy lives,” she said. “It eliminated a generation of African American men, covered our racism in ostensibly neutral guidelines and mandatory minimums… and created an intergenerational problem––although I wasn’t on the bench long enough to see this, we know that the sons and daughters of the people we sentenced are in trouble, and are in trouble with the criminal justice system.”
She added that the War on Drugs eliminated the political participation of its casualties. “We were not leveling cities as we did in WWII with bombs, but with prosecution, prison, and punishment,” she said, explaining that her life’s work is now focused on trying to reconstruct the lives that she undermined––as a general matter, by advocating for reform, and as a specific project: she is trying to go through the list of all the people she sentenced to see who deserves executive clemency.
Enough is enough. Let’s end this stupidity once and for all.
For related articles, see:
Donate bitcoins: 1LefuVV2eCnW9VKjJGJzgZWa9vHg7Rc3r1
Follow me on Twitter.