Alternative Solution to Drug Policy

Question

Write a paper analyzing how a current criminal justice policy was developed as an alternative solution/strategy to its predecessor policy. Be sure to include the following:
?Identify the policy.
?Describe how it was an alternative solution/strategy to its predecessor policy.
?Analyze the factors that contributed to the policy’s development.

Format your paper in accordance with APA guidelines.

Sample paper

Alternative Solution to Drug Policy

There are thousands of policies in the criminal justice system. The policies are countless noting that each of those polices require some alternative solutions in order to make them better. These policies are meant to give better governance to the system and serve the public without any hiccups. This means that the policies are always being rectified in order to keep tabs on the dynamics of the criminal world. The major responsibility of the criminal justice system is to apprehend and punish who break the law. Therefore, the system is a major pillar of democracy and the justice system. The system can only remain viable if the policies in the law enforcement, courts and correction stages supplement each other.  Therefore the policies and procedures must be flawless in order to get public trust and confidence. The policies should be developed, revised and implemeneted while still remaining consistent with the constitution.

The laws governing the criminal justice system are neutral and should be followed by everyone. Throughout history in the United States, there have been countless policies that have been developed, ratified, thrown out and provided alternatives for the policy to work effectively. One of the policies that have been changing everyday for a long time is the Drug Policy. The United States has engaged in the war against drugs for over twenty five years. The estimate of the budget that goes into the drug war is approximately fifty billion dollars per year. Despite all the efforts, only less than 10 percent of the illicit drugs are captured. The war on drugs has opened loopholes in some critical areas. It has not only cost the country billions of dollars but also increased prisons population, blighted lives, increased racism, caused many deaths and loss of freedom. Such issues have led to the enactment of many policies to try and fight the drug war. There is a strong connection between drug use and crime in the United States.  Research indicates that more than half of the inmates held in state and federal prisons were using drugs approximately a month before committing the offence that led to their sentencing. In addition, a third and a quarter of states and federal prisoners respectively were using drugs during the time of the offense. As a result, it is essential to develop policies that acquit offenders based on the magnitude of their drug offences.

In 2010, the president signed the fair sentencing act into law. The new law was meant to amend the Controlled Substances Import and Export Act and the Controlled Substance Act by revising the thresholds for minimum and maximum penalties for crack and powder cocaine users.  This was major reform in the criminal justice system since it reduced a 100-to-1 difference between sentences for powder cocaine and crack cocaine users that mainly affected minorities. The sentencing guidelines were approved by the United States sentencing commission.  For a long time, small drug offenders have been sentenced for long or life sentences while the drug lords walk free. The new policy was changing this trend that has incarcerated so many people especially Hispanics and African Americans. Most drug offenders do not deserve jail. All they need is drug treatment, community services and another chance to lead a better life.  The fair sentencing act was focusing on the major drug traffickers rather than the other policies that had heavy penalties for small time offenders. It increased the monetary penalties for major traffickers (Adams, 2016).

In his administration, president Barrack Obama has enacted the popular Obama Drug Policy bring to an end the use of drugs.  His policies have replaced the popular war against drugs by the Reagan and Richard Nixon administrations. In 2010, the Obama administration published its first national drug control strategy that brought a new course in the efforts to counter the use of illicit drugs and its consequences in the country. Most drugs end up causing brain disorders which can be prevented and cured. In 2015, a new strategy was enacted focusing on seven critical areas. . Firstly, it sought to prevent drug use in the communities. Drug trafficking is on the rise because drug users in the communities are providing market. The strategy also looked into early healthcare interventions, integrating substance use disorders into the  healthcare system, breaking the unending cycle of crime, drug use and incarceration, disrupting drug production and trafficking, strengthening partnerships worldwide and improving information system in order to drug use perfectly (Jacobs, 2016).

The scale and complexity of drug use in the country requires all the sectors of the criminal justice system to be governed by smart drug policies. The Obama administration has made great strides to reform the nation’s drug policies and change the way in which people deal with the problem. There have been several adjustments made in order for the war against drugs to be productive by encouraging healthy reforms to help the victims rather than make endless but fruitless arrests. This was a remarkable stride from what happened in the previous administration. In 1982, President Ronald Reagan issued orders that the United States would mobilize forces to stop drug trafficking. First lady Nancy Reagan took the campaigns to schools urging students to say no to drugs. The president’s move was astonishing to many since drug crime was on the decline and only two percent of the American population viewed drugs as a national disaster. When he signed the Anti-Drug Abuse Act in 1986, President Reagan believed that issuing tough laws was the way to win the war against drugs. However, this brought about a new problem. African Americans were incarcerated more than white people. In the year 2000, 63 percent of drug offenders in state prisons were black people yet white people were using drugs at the same rates. The president established more prison facilities and the number of black people in prison for drug offenses kept rising. These policies tainted the criminal justice system. The whole system was corrupted and it was hard for black people to get justice. Such policies needed to be changed in order to make the system reliable (Kendi, 2016).

There are several reasons why The Obama Drug Policy was developed.  Firstly, the policy approached the drug problem from a health point of view. Community health centers received funds to enhance their treatment services for drug users. In addition, there was an expansion of drug courts where non violent drug users are put into treatment instead of serving sentences. The Second Chance Act provides funds for reentry services at the state and local levels like for services such as substance abuse treatment, family programs and reentry courts. The policy gets to the root cause of the problem and prioritizes the well being of the offenders. Racism in drug offences has come to an end and the policy has shown effectiveness for the time it has been in effect.

References

Adams, M. (2016). Obama Administration to Review National Drug Policies – High Times. Hightimes.com. Retrieved 16 October 2016, from http://hightimes.com/news/obama-administration-to-review-national-drug-policies/

Jacobs, H. (2016). Obama gave a huge signal that the old War on Drugs is over. Business Insider. Retrieved 16 October 2016, from http://uk.businessinsider.com/obamas-latest-plan-to-fight-heroin-abuse-is-a-big-step-2016-3?r=US&IR=T

Kendi, I. (2016). How Ronald Reagan’s Drug War Fueled Americans’ Addiction to Racist Ideas. TheInfluence. Retrieved 16 October 2016, from http://theinfluence.org/how-ronald-reagans-drug-war-fueled-americans-addiction-to-racist-ideas/

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Policy Making in the Criminal Justice System

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