Joe Biden Envisions a Kinder, Gentler Drug War. We Should Demand Its End.
Thursday night’s final presidential debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden was notable in that neither man rushed to the defense of America’s tendency to throw people in jail to serve long sentences for crimes, even if both men have records of wanting to do so.
Biden reiterated his position on the drug war, that rather than arresting and imprisoning people for drug use, these people should be helped via drug courts and mandatory drug treatment. (Biden also claimed that Republicans don’t support drug courts, which isn’t true: President George W. Bush’s National Drug Control Strategy touted the local use of drug courts.)
Biden probably thinks he’s advocating for something good, as do the Democrats who included this position in the party’s 2020 platform, which says that nobody should be incarcerated “solely because they use drugs” and instead calls for diversionary treatment and drug courts.
The problem is that this position is simply perpetuating the drug war, but in a way that seems kindly and more accommodating. It operates on the incorrect assumption that every single person who uses illegal drugs is an addict who needs intervention in order to stop. Biden’s view, to be fair, could be influenced by his experiences with his son Hunter’s struggles with addiction.
But the drug court system is overly reliant on the threat of incarceration as part of its very operating system. Drug courts often require that anybody who wants the “mercy” of the court plead guilty, give up the rights, and confess to an addiction—one they may not have—in order to avoid jail.
Look at this descri
Article from Latest – Reason.com