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The War on Drugs at a Glance

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"Prohibition ... attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation, and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. A Prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded." - Abraham Lincoln: Speech in the Illinois House of Representatives, Dec 18, 1840.

"In sum, truth takes a holiday, and special interests burrow into the sources of wealth and influence. The result is waste and nonsense that in any other human endeavor would be intolerable. If there is a key to understanding America's-criminal justice problem, it lies in recognizing that the war on drugs has been lost and never was winable. In order to feed the war machine, we have sacrificed our courts, prisons and law enforcement. More importantly, we have surrendered many of the freedoms that made us the freest society in history." - John L. Kane, Jr., Senior Judge, U.S. District Court, Denver

"Mistrust those in whom the impulse to punish is strong." - Friedrich Nietzsche

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

"Over the course of the period from the mid-1970's until today, the United States has embarked on one of the largest public policy experiments in our history. Yet this experiment remains shockingly absent from public debate: the United States now imprisons a higher percentage of its citizens than any other country in the world.
"With the world's largest prison population, our prisons test the limits of our democracy and push the boundaries of our moral identity". -
Virginia Democratic Senator Jim Webb, speaking at the Senate Joint Economic Committee hearing on mass incarceration, fall 2007

"We never knew that [prosecutors] would take the generosity of good public policy makers and turn it on its head. We never knew that they would take out after innocent people in so many different ways. I cannot even get into telling my colleagues how they use conspiracy laws. No evidence, no documentation. These conspiracy laws are filling up the prisons." - Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA)

"We've just about lost a generation of young people. We're building new prison beds at the rate of about 1000 a week and we're still overcrowded... We've spent $100 billion on the war on drugs and we're losing it." - US District Judge Thomas Wiseman

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead

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