Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Drug Law Revisions

For some reason, the Times of Trenton has not seen fit to post yesterday's column by George Amick* about the bills in Our Fair State's legislature about revising our drug laws. Here's what he said:

Imagine that New Jersey had a law that resulted in the imprisonment of thousands of nonviolent offenders - most of them minorities- at a high cost in taxpayer dollars and wasted lives, had no measurable effect on crime, robbed judges of the discretion that is that sole reason we have judges at all and was opposed by prosecutors throughout the state. Wouldn't the Legislature repeal it as quickly as it could assemble a quorum?
You'd think so. But our legislature has a selective sense of urgency.

(What a great line- a selective sense of urgency.)

New Jersey has had such a law for more than two decades and the law has produced all the toxic effects described above. A bill that would moderate some of these effects has been introduced in the Senate, where a majority is thought to favor the reform, but no one seems to be in a big hurry to advance it.

Mr. Amick goes on to describe the lost wages that those incarcerated could have produced as opposed to spending the money to incarcerate them, the unfair Drug Free School Zone laws that increase sentences whether there were children around or not and how dense urban areas fall entirely into these areas, and how the laws have shown to have no benefit whatsoever.

The bills our esteemed Mr. Amick mentions to eliminate the unreasonable drug laws is A 2762 and S 1866, sponsored by Assm. Bonnie Watson Coleman and Sen. Ray Lesniak, respectively. They should be furthered, debated and made into law. Ours is a failed drug policy that isn't helping keep our kids or our streets safe and is costing us a fortune in the process. It's time to revise it.

*Amick isn't listed as one of the Times of Trenton's columnists anymore, either. Since I'm looking at a paper from yesterday where his "Capital Talk" column is printed, I know he is- or was, as of yesterday? What's going on?

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