Saturday, 25 April 2009

‘War On Drugs’: Waving The White Flag…?

Heroin dealers will no longer face automatic jail sentences and could escape with community service order under reforms put forward by Government advisers yesterday.

They claimed that long jail terms do not deter dealers and that courts should focus on confiscating the profits of drug barons.
I thought we did both…? Thus preventing them from making more profit while incarcerated.
The Sentencing Advisory Panel also said it was wrong that drug pushers can go to jail for longer periods than other serious criminals such as rapists, violent attackers or dangerous drivers.
And, of course, no one jumped to the obvious conclusion that this is not because the sentences for drug dealers are too long, but that the sentences for rapists, violent attackers and dangerous drivers are too short, did they?

Not that there’s an ulterior motive, or anything…
Criminologist Dr David Green of the Civitas think-tank claimed the proposals were 'intended to reduce the prison population because there is too little prison space.'

He added: 'All the real evidence on drug dealing and deterrence shows that deterrence does work.'
Only if you mean it, David, and only if you stick to it. Not things our justice system is renowned for, unfortunately.

14 comments:

North Northwester said...

"The Sentencing Advisory Panel also said it was wrong that drug pushers can go to jail for longer periods than other serious criminals such as rapists, violent attackers or dangerous drivers."

You know Julia, I think I can see a small fault in their reasoning here. I think that either the Sentencing Advisory Panel isn't aware of, or for some reason doesn't want to focus upon, the fact that heroin is a habit-forming substance which if taken by weak-willed people can come to dominate their lives and limit their moral compass and mental horizons to seeking out more drugs. Some people have been known to die from constant use of the drug.

I tend to think (and call me old-fashioned if you must) that people who willingly make a living selling stuff that poisons people and which ultimately degrades them and that puts a lot of them into the grave, are actually causing bodily harm and massive grief to addicts and many of their neighbours alike.

I sort of have this prejudice in favour of the authorities dealing with widespread poisoning.

It's illegal to sell yourself into slavery to work forever for a cruel master or die - and it should remain so if that master is heroin and its providers.

Jail the slavers for a long, long time.

Oh, and "Sentencing Advisory Panel" - what a great acronym.

Mark Wadsworth said...

I'm all in favour of legalising, regulating and taxing drugs, actually.

But this sort of of half-hearted de-criminalisation is the worst of both worlds.

Oldrightie said...

We can't afford to fed them if we lock them up. Besides Gord needs their South American Barons' cash, too.

Edwin Greenwood said...

Perhaps they could serve their community sentences toiling in the poppy fields of Afghanistan under the watchful eyes of trigger-happy Taliban guards.

Rightwinggit said...

I prefer the Chinese solution.

JuliaM said...

""Sentencing Advisory Panel" - what a great acronym."

It is, isn't it? Very apt...

"..this sort of of half-hearted de-criminalisation is the worst of both worlds."

It just seems to encapsulate the wooly, out-of-touch 'thinking' that we have come to expect from any sort of reform process.

woodbutcher said...

[[I tend to think (and call me old-fashioned if you must) that people who willingly make a living selling stuff that poisons people and which ultimately degrades them and that puts a lot of them into the grave, are actually causing bodily harm and massive grief to addicts and many of their neighbours alike.]]

[[[I sort of have this prejudice in favour of the authorities dealing with widespread poisoning. ]]]

Well what about Phillip Morris Miller brewing and jack daniels distilleries and all the pharma companys in the world??? to say these state sponsered drug dealers are acceptable while other drugs much less harmful IE: cannabis / mushrooms etc. are not allowed is just flat out hypocrasy.. I am a recovering addict no one made me become addicted to heroin and cocaine and tobacco except me..I never stole to support my habit and maintained a job through out my 20+ yrs of adiction until i got help ..and through out the years on thing has remained consistant the money trail always ends before reaching the very top.. low and mid level dealers are filling prisons worldwide ... but were are the real money people ?? you need look no furthur than our own govt. and every one else profiting from the war on drugs private owned prison's drug testing companys etc.and even worse judges owning finacial interest's in these private prisons ..the CIA's selling of cocaine to fund the contra's is well documented as are many other instance's of drug and gun running by govt agency's and even low level law enforcment officers are arrested weekly for stealing evidence and selling confiscated drugs. to support thier own habit's all the while the pharma co.s lobby congress to pass laws to require people to take thier poisons and if you refuse you are locked up or out of school's for failing to take the govt sanctioned vaccines .until we remove the profit from drug smuggling we will continue down the same self destructive path .. einstien said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over knowing that the results will be the same .. that defines the war on drugs to a T

North Northwester said...

Woodbutcher.
"Well what about Phillip Morris Miller brewing and jack daniels distilleries and all the pharma companys in the world"

Most people in this country can handle Phillip Morris & Miller brewing and Jack Daniels distilleries products in moderation - or even in some excess - through alcohol and to a lesser extent tobacco, are our national drugs.

It's cultural, innit?

Alcoholism does exist,of course, but it's state subsidized via Incapacity Benefit and Housing Benefit, and that needs to stop.

".I never stole to support my habit and maintained a job through out my 20+ yrs of adiction until i got help .."
I did state weak-willed people. Maybe you are not such, and though I might wonder how well you did your job, that judgement would be up to your employer, I suppose.

Illegal drugs such as heroin and cannabis do have harmful effects on brain chemistry and other bodily functions -as does alcohol, but Europeans are more used to alcohol as all our ancestors used it to make water clean for millennia - but that's no reason to permit them and for everyone else to suffer the economic and public order consequences of the decreased productivity and increased craziness and public health issues of junkies and stoners who just plain can't handle it.

I'm not going in after the conspiracy theory stuff about the CIA or pharma co's as you call them, or to justify police corruption real and imagined. They're red herrings.

The higher number weak-willed junkies and dribbling pot-heads there ar about, the worse it is for the rest of us.

And you did sell yourself into slavery,and it was illegal for good reason, even if it's true you didn't cause harm to those around you as a result of your behaviour, which is possible for the guilded few.

And as for "flat out hypocrasy", I'm not playing that moral equivalence, faux-rationalist, treat everyone and everything the same as semantic equals game - it's a diversion.

I'm sure some people would love to run through public places fighting each other but not hurting 'civilians.'
I don't believe they'd miss civilians, but even if they did, it'd be a shittier country if they did such a thing.

I want less craziness in our shopping centres and housing estates and hospitals and minimizing drug use is one of the ways to do it.

God I love not being a libertarian any more - it's so liberating.

Ross said...

What Mark said.

Decriminalisation is a far worse option than either banning or legalising drugs.

Peter Risdon said...

The most bizarre drivel is talked about heroin and other drugs. Slavers my fat backside, I've watched stone cold turkey, and it's a bit like a very mild flu. Anthony Daniels is, as usual, on the button on this:

http://www.littleatoms.com/dalrymple.htm

By the way, have you signed yet?

http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/please-go

JuliaM said...

Oh, yes. And I've emailed all my friends and relatives, and they've signed too!

Yesterday when I did mine, it was just over 6000. I note today it stands at 8,378.. :)

Von Spreuth. said...

Of COURSE they are legalising it. After all, they need now to produce a market for all the poppies the Afghani farmers are being encouraged to grow.

It does appear to be a strange signal they are sending, "It is O.K to sell, and (therfore, by implication,) buy/take opiates and derivatives, but we will slam you inside for years if you are caught with a quarter of hash".

Then again if religion is the opiate of the masses, and the masses are leaving religion in their droves, then perhaps the only solution is to give them REAL Opium.

Von Brandenburg-Preußen.

North Northwester said...

Peter Risdon said...

"I've watched stone cold turkey, and it's a bit like a very mild flu. Anthony Daniels is, as usual, on the button on this:"

I'm aware of this, and an admirer of Dr. Daniels' views and of course his massive knowledge of drugs, addiction, and the underclass, and his very words 'mild flu-like symptoms' were exactly what I was thinking about when I chose the expression 'weak-willed people.'

So, sure; nice middle-class people have the minimal strength of character to overcome these 'flu-like symptoms. They'll have a lot of experience deferring gratification and enduring at least small amounts of hardship, and should not find getting this monkey off their backs - perhaps even easier than nicotine or alcohol. But as for the soft-willed pampered Welfare State numpties we've been breeding for three generations? I don't think so.

Not for people who only need the self-discipline and self-organisation to get out of bed earlier than noon once a fortnight to sign on for Jobseeker's Allowance, and who regularly miss the appointment because they 'forgot.'

Abstract freedoms which are permitted to an aristocracy of the self-possessed at the cost of suffering to and amongst and inflicted by weak-willed underclass junkies need a lot more justification than ‘I like drugs, and I’m okay, so keep your filthy laws off my body.’

Peter Risdon said...

No, people should be held responsible for their actions. The question of autonomy (I own my own body) is another matter. Drugs are used as an excuse.

The phrase "soft racism of low expectations" can be modified for this context too. These low expectations lie behind soft sentencing too. They are pernicious, we should have the same expectations of every person of sound mind.

The fact is that almost everything called a drug problem is a drug law problem, which is why the same problems appear whenever you prohibit a substance, from alcohol to heroin. Prohibition causes the problems. This argument again has nothing to do with the question of autonomy. There's nothing libertarian about this, it's simple pragmatism.