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Research suggests the War on Drugs was a direct predecessor of the current opioid crisis. It was a thirty-year period where politicians utilized political manipulation to guide policy and expend resources under the ruse of enhancing law enforcement. This paper intends to describe the gravest consequence of this misguided effort: the mass incarceration of people of color. The War on Drugs has resulted in the over-representation of Black people incarcerated in prisons: nearly half of the people incarcerated in the United States are Black, and Black people make up over half of the people incarcerated for drug offenses. Black people are sent to prison for drug offenses at ten times the rate of white offenders, though whites use drugs at a rate five times than African Americans." Researchers compare this to a “methodological reproduction of . . . slavery.” Incarceration in the U. S. likens to South Africa during the apartheid period: Our prisons now hold 792,000 African American males, equal to 1 in 3 three of that demographic in the 20 to 29 age group. This fact is exacerbated by the number of statutes passed strengthening the sanctions for drug crimes. Those statutes weakened judicial latitude and thereby crippled judges ability to tailor the punishment to the offender. The outcome of this movement has left the courts less effective at one of their primary functions: limiting the damage from an unconstitutional statutes.


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  • Contributors
    • Batchelder, John
    • Language
      • English

    • Subject
      • Criminal Justice

    • Department
      • Criminal Justice Department

    • Institution
      • Dahlonega

    • Publisher
      • University of North Georgia

    • Date submitted

      14 February 2023

    • License
    • Keywords