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I Got Published!

February 22, 2009 -- St. Petersburg Times (FL)

Prohibition Problem

You offered two recent opinion pieces about the drug war. One would continue this war; the other would treat drugs as a public health problem. In effect, the issue is whether to stop all use or to stop problem use. History teaches that the latter is more effective.

National Prohibition ( 1920-1933 ) failed because it tried to stamp out all drinking by prosecuting bootleggers. By the late 1920s the public had begun to withdraw their support for Prohibition because they saw 1 ) an alcohol-free America was not possible, 2 ) the illegal wealth enabled by Prohibition fostered street violence and official corruption, 3 ) it was costly to imprison bootleggers, and 4 ) there was a need for liquor tax revenue.

We ended Prohibition in 1933 and have learned to live with legal alcohol by focusing on problem drinking. While many of us believe alcohol regulation is still too soft, no responsible person has proposed that we try again to stop all drinking.

John Chase, Palm Harbor, FL

October 2008 -- Mother Jones Magazine (US)

Why does America have 8 to 10 times more prisoners per capita than any other democracy? Are we supposed to believe that America has that many more criminals? Or could it be that we lock up far too many people for far too long?

As someone who is serving a 20-year mandatory minimum sentence for allegedly being a one-time participant in a large marijuana conspiracy, I think I know the answer.

Charle Crehore, Tucson, AZ

January 21, 2008 -- US News & World Report (US)

As a federal inmate serving a 20-year sentence for marijuana conspiracy, I can tell you what is one of the greatest obstacles to successful [prisoner] re-entry: overly long sentences, especially for non-violent crimes.

With good time, I will get out at age 60. What really are my chances of successfully re-entering society at that point?

Charle Crehore, Tucson, AZ

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