NEW JERSEY DRUG DEFENSE ATTORNEY IN BERGEN, PASSAIC AND HUDSON COUNTIES SPEAKS OUT ON THE WAR ON DRUGS
Today, we imprison more of our brothers and sisters than any other country in the world, including China, the Soviet Union and South Africa. (www.drugsense.org.) In November 2006, the U.S. Department of Justice disclosed that one of every 32 people in this country, which is a total of 7 million people, are in prison, on probation, or on parole. In 2003, 55% of all federal prisoners had been convicted of drug-related offenses. Inexplicably, federal sentences are longer for drug-related offenses than for violent felonies, including arson, manslaughter, weapons , extortion or racketeering.
How did this happen? How did it come to pass that this country which is considered by most to be the “land of the free” and the most progressive of all countries in the world, has committed itself to condemning a vast majority of its citizens to the dark, dangerous and desperate dungeons that law enforcement officials call correctional facilities? The answer is simple, it is the so-called “war on drugs”.
The “war on drugs” is not a new political or social phenomenon. It is as old as the commercial proliferation of drugs which began centuries ago. One of its first landmarks was the Opium Wars, where, in the 1880’s, the United States attacked China to block the exportation of opium to our country.
For the first eight months of 2007, the federal and state governments spent over $33,000,000,000 in their efforts to detect and prosecute drug related offenses! During that time, almost 1,030,000 people were arrested in this country for a drug-related offense, which equates to one arrest every 30 seconds. Of those people, 514,204 were arrested for a marijuana-related offense. (www.drugsense.org).
By some projections, the cost of placing a drug dealer behind bars is approximately $450,000, including the cost of investigation, arrest, prosecution and a presumed mandatory prison term of five years. The government spends more money to investigate and incarcerate drug offenders than to educate our children. The cost per year, just for incarcerating these prisoners, is 3 billion dollars. At one point, in the last few years, Colorado law-makers diverted $59,000,000 originally dedicated to its colleges and universities into paying for prison expansion. Since there are over 20 states under federal court orders to reduce prison over-crowding, it is highly unlikely that our education system will receive the financial attention it so desperately needs.
Frank T. Luciano has been defending drug related accusations for over 40 years in areas near Hackensack, Paterson and Jersey City. He is a lifetime member of the National Organization for Reformation of Marijuana Laws (NORML) and a longtime member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys. See also, Client Testimonials posted on this website.