Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Accidental truth

A drug task force in Arkansas accidentally spilled some truth in a Pine Bluff newspaper article while complaining about the Bush Administration's drug task force cuts:
“We can go out and arrest somebody and we don’t have any jail space because we’ve got a jail full of people that commit violent crimes so we have to turn around and let them loose,” [task force Sgt. Dick Madsen] said. “It’s like fishing in a bass tournament. You catch a fish and release it and that way you still have a population of bass in the lake . That’s what we’re doing and we’ve never won a tournament.”

Even with a new jail under construction, Madsen said people are needed to “do the fishing.”

“You’re not going to catch the fish to put in the jail,” he said.
I've been saying exactly that - focusing on arrests for drug crimes by definition diverts attention from more serious offenses who actually harm or endanger others. Of course, task force officals try to conflate the two:
“There’s probably less than 10 percent of all crimes in our jurisdiction that are not drug related,” Madsen said. “There’s embezzlement to buy drugs, thievery from hospitals and pharmacies to get drugs, burglaries to get money to buy and drugs and they’re killing each other because of drug disputes.”
If you really think they're all the same people and the jails are full, why not spend more time pursuing embezzlers, burglars and murderers? After all, at most a small fraction of drug users ever commit more serious crimes. For most folks targeted by local drug task forces, their worst offense is purchasing and using drugs, or dealing at a very low level to support their habit.

But if you admit that it's harder to justify huge sums of federal pork coming your way. No wonder the Bush Administration wants to get rid of the Byrne grant program.

2 comments:

Hope said...

This one's pretty good, too, for some accidental truth that slipped out of Washington State.

"And like any agricultural product, marijuana is very much a commodity, Lieut. Rich Wiley, who heads the Washington State Patrol narcotics program, said Wednesday."

"We're struck by the amount of work they put into it," Wiley said. "It's very labour intensive. They often run individual drip lines to each plant, and are out there fertilizing them. It takes a tremendous amount of work."

(Thanks to Allan over at Pete's place.)

I thought those "potheads" were very "amovitated" or something like that?

Where is all that motivation coming from?

Does prohibition as we know it today have anything to do with it?

Has artificially driven, sky high profits got anything to do with it?

There have been many reasons so many have pursued those profits.

I think it's mostly, of course, about money...supply and demand...and risk, adventure, and adrenaline.

Sometimes it's pure greed and sometimes it can be the desperate need to work and the need to profit for many unexplored reasons.

Anonymous said...

Grits,

Be very leery of the stats in any state regarding the destruction of what they call cultivated marijuana.

I superivsed this program and here's what really happened.

DEA had a marijuane eradication program whereby piles of federal money went to areas where the states could DEMONSTRATE marijuana was being cultivated.

That money was based on NUMBERS of destroyed CULTIVATED plants. Think about that for a moment so you can develop a mindset how to make ALL plants cultivated so the funds can be triggered.

Marijuana plants grow wild and it's called "ditch weed" ordinatrily but it's not called that when 15 state troopers in Illinois get in an expensive helicopter on overtime and destroy it along the Illinois river. Then it's called a "cultivated plant" because those creative minds will find evidence of cultivation; maybe an empty soda can; a plastic bottle; or something that was trash but creatively identified as a means to water the plant.

I watched as the Illinois State Police were paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to destroy ditch weed that was a complete fraud. The stats are not verifiable when you look at them closely and this is one more example of federal funding controlled at the state and local level with no oversight, controls, or verification.

Somebody needs to look at these fraudulent programs now so that the supervisors who ignore and thereby promote them are fired; thereby understanding something that doesn't work.