Tide Has Shifted In Punishing Drug Crimes

Post Date: November 20, 2013

Scales-of-Justice-01(Idaho Press-Tribune Editorial) — As the budgets for government agencies at all levels — city, county, state and federal — get tighter and tighter and, in some cases, debt mounts higher and higher, many of us have had to take a hard look at our priorities. In some cases, we’ve made some major shifts in our line of thinking when it comes to what government should provide.

One of the biggest shifts in thought can be found in the area of crime and punishment. In the 1980s and even into the 1990s, it was fashionable for candidates for political office to take tough, no-exceptions stances on crime, particularly drug offenses. “You do the crime, you do the time” was a catchy mantra in many a campaign.

Opinions differ on how successful the unofficial “War on Drugs” has been. But it’s safe to say that the tide has turned in public opinion when it comes to how we should deal with drug users and sellers. That shift of tide is most profound on the right side of the political spectrum,

Conservative Republicans once were at the forefront of the drive to impose harsh prison sentences on anyone involved with drugs. Today, however, many of them have come to grips with the reality of just how many people that is — and more to the point, just how much it costs to incarcerate all of them. Read more