One of the biggest reasons we have to push for marijuana reform, aside from medicinal benefits, is the amount of money the nation would save by decriminalizing the plant. I recently wrote an article about marijuana arrests being the highest they have been in over five years – today I want to introduce you to a group of people who plan to do something about that!
The Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime and Incarceration is a group 130 members strong – all of whom are in the police force or directly related as attorneys or similar positions. They have all come together with one common goal: to reduce crime and incarceration simultaneously.
These men and women come from every corner of the nation and include the Chief of Police from some rather influential cities around the country including Denver, New York and Los Angeles.
Some may think that their ideas are insane, how can you teach someone not to do it again without punishment, right? This thinking is old fashion and plain wrong – there is absolutely a better way!
The group became official this week and there is already word that they are to be having a meeting with President Obama. It seems like they’ve already gained a lot of traction and now that the word is getting out, I’m sure they will have plenty of supporters around the nation.
Looking at the chart supplied by the Huffington Post in April of 2014, nearly 70% of incarcerated individuals were non-violent offenders! The only categories on the list I left out included Homicide, Sexual Offenses and Weapons/Explosives/Arson.
Of that 70%, 50.1% was only for drug offenses, the next highest percentage being immigration at 10.6%. While this chart is a little over a year out of date, not that much has changed in the last year – actually, more people were arrested for marijuana related offenses in the last year, at about one person per minute.
There should be more options for anyone who is a first time offender – especially when the individual is very young. A felony follows you for the rest of your life in almost every scenario and that can severely affect the individuals’ ability to cope later in life.
Once these individuals have done their time, most go unemployed and homeless, when instead, many of these people were probably low-level marijuana offenders or drug addicts in need of treatment, not incarceration.
If these people were getting the proper care and counseling they needed rather than time in prison we would likely see a big decrease in repeat offences. Hopefully the Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime and Incarceration can help many people return to the life they deserve.
Hopefully they will be able to help our country reform laws and change the traditional path of crime, arrest, court, prison – it clearly is not working. The number of persons incarcerated keeps increasing and crime rates, while at an all-time low, will never be diminished.
I believe they are doing the right thing – everyone deserves a second chance without a felony following them around. While changing the way law enforcement works is scary, it is meant to lead us to a better sense of community – working together to keep everyone safe, rather than everyone fearing incarceration for the smallest offense.