Propelled through popular media portrayals, federal drug charges are no form of entertainment in reality. New York’s penalties surrounding such crimes can have lasting effects on individuals who might not have even had a strong hand in the incident. There have been many instances of controversy in regard to the ways the nation handles serious drug charges, but many would argue that the severity of penalties often far outweighs the crimes themselves.
Earlier today, Public News Service released an article on America’s drug laws and the penalties currently in effect. The news outlet found through a study that jail time does not necessarily deter people from committing drug-related crimes. Despite President Trump’s demand for harsher sentences — that even go as far as to call for the death penalty for drug traffickers — experts in drug research claim stricter repercussions may not be the answer. While New York’s drug imprisonment rates have been some of the lowest in the nation, other states such as Louisiana have had the highest incarceration rate in the U.S. As a result, taxpayers have taken the ultimate blow, and penalties have had no significant effects on actual drug users.
The American Civil Liberties Union also provides clarity on the country’s strict drug laws and their negative impact on the public. ACLU points toward the antiquated federal drug laws of 1986 that can punish even those with the lowest affiliation with drug trafficking. Because these laws are still in effect, countless citizens are punished at the level of “drug trafficker.” Most of these charges result in up to 10 years behind bars. The ACLU points out that many of those convicted of drug trafficking are unemployed, single mothers, who also show no signs of improvement after mandatory minimum sentences. The issues surrounding the country’s federal drug laws may be complex, but it is clear that these regulations do not always prove beneficial.