The Wall Street Journal reports on a new police tactic aimed at stopping youthful drug dealers: Informing their families combined with threats of prosecution. ("Novel police tactic puts drug markets out of business," Sept. 27). Offenders who agree to stop selling drugs are not arrested.
That will probably work well. Readers of the book Freakonomics will recall that a large proportion of drug dealers live with their parents. This ingeniously simple strategy takes advantage of that odd fact. Via the Austinist.
UPDATE: Blogging at Alternet, Lindsay Beyerstein writes:
I'm not sure exactly how I feel about this. On the one hand, any strategy that deescalates the War on Drugs is a good thing. Still, I'm not entirely comfortable with the police essentially blackmailing third parties to reign in their adult family members.Maybe it is "blackmail," thinks me, but since police had the goods to prosecute the kids, anyway, I'm not sure I see the harm - if I were the drug dealing youth, or the kid's family, I'd rather have a choice than no choice and prosecution, which is the other option. Still, it certainly does put the family in a coercive situation - on the other hand, so did the kid's bad choices. This tactic might give some Moms or grandmothers leverage with their children they might not have on their own - using the strength of the system to reinforce family bonds rather than sever them. That seems to me like an improvement over the status quo for all concerned.