Selected Books on Drug Policy and Criminal Justice Reform
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So Many Tears,
by Teresa Aviles. In So Many Tears, Teresa Aviles
tells the heart-wrenching story of how the War on Drugs took
away her first-born child, Isidro. Implicated in a federal drug
conspiracy, Isidro was sucked into the maw of the criminal justice
nightmare and sentenced to 26 years for a first-time non-violent
drug law violation, destined never to return to the arms of his
Arrested with no drugs, money or evidence of any sort, and
convicted on the questionable word of a paid government informant,
Isidro was eight years into his sentence when he was taken deathly
ill. Even now this mother still doesn't have any real answers.
Isidro's death certificate, written by US Bureau of Prison officials,
still states he was a White Male who died of AIDS.
||Lies, Damned Lies, and Drug War Statistics: A
Critical Analysis of Claims Made by the Office of National Drug
Control Policy, by Matthew B. Robinson and Renee G. Scherlen.
This book critically analyzes claims made by the Office of National
Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), the White House agency of accountability
in the nation's drug war. Specifically, the book examines six
editions of the annual National Drug Control Strategy
between 2000 and 2005 to determine if ONDCP accurately and honestly
presents information or intentionally distorts evidence to justify
continuing the war on drugs.
Burning Rainbow Farm: How a Stoner Utopia Went
Up in Smoke, by Dean Kuipers (Bloomsbury) Founded in
1993, Rainbow Farm in rural Michigan attracted law enforcement
surveillanc, as it became a safe haven for a diverse group of
caring local and countercultural people. After a series of confrontations
with authorities, police snipers killed Crosslin and Rohm two
days before the more infamous 9/11 NYC terrorist strike. Kuipers
argues that maximum force is not always morally justified when
dealing with the emotional issues surrounding the War on Drugs.
"Burning Rainbow Farm" is a 2007 Michigan Notable
Books winner and can be ordered online at Amazon.com
||Prison Town: This comic tells the tale
of how financing and siting of prisons and jails affects the
people of rural communities in which prisons are built. It also
tells the story of the how mass incarceration affects the people
of urban communities, where the majority of people who are incarcerated
come from. Included in the comic book are alternatives to the
||Prisoners of the War on Drugs: The comic
book includes: the history of the war on drugs, mandatory minimums
and how racism creates harsher sentences for people of color;
stories on how the war on drugs works against women, three strikes,
obstacles to coming home after incarceration, how mass incarceration
destabilizes neighborhoods, and alternatives to the present system.
||Prisoners of a Hard Life: Women and Their Children:
This comic book includes stories about women trapped by mandatory
sentencing and the War on Drugs and the "costs" of
incarceration for women and their families. A two-page story
details the trial and sentencing of Regina McKnight. Also included
are "Change is Possible" alternatives to the present
system, a glossary and footnotes.
|Breaking Rank: A Top Cop's Expose of the Dark
Side of American Policing, by Norm Stamper. An unflinchingly
critical look at American policing by a widely respected big-city
police chief, a call for radical legislative reform by an accomplished
insider in law enforcement, and a touching, intensely personal
memoir that reads like the hard-boiled reportage of a tough-talking
street cop. Stamper is the former Police Chief of Seattle, WA.
|Beat the Heat: How to Handle Encounters With
Law Enforcement; By Katya Komisaruk. Saying the right
thing during an encounter with the police can mean the difference
between going home and going to jail. Beat the Heat gives
you a set of easy-to-remember legal tactics for protecting yourself
and the people you care about. Available from AK Press.
||Drug War Addiction: Notes from the Front Lines
of America's #1 Policy Disaster; By Sheriff Bill Masters,
San Miguel County, Colorado. Masters is a veteran of the "Drug
War." He was so good at it that he won an award from the
DEA. As the years passed, however, Masters began to harbor misgivings.
A few years ago, Masters came to the conclusion that the drug
war is itself an addiction - and that drug prohibition is more
damaging to the fabric of American society than drugs could ever
|Drug War: Covert Money, Power & Policy -
The Real History of the Drug War; by Dan Russell. Bestselling
writers, professional researchers, degenerate drug users and
just plain old folks offer fact-based alternatives to the disinformation
of prohibitionist anti-drug warriors. Nearly 50 contributors
examine, dissect, ridicule and otherwise conclusively prove that
the War on Some Drugs and Users is not only destructive and stupid,
it's flat out evil.
||15 to Life: How I Painted My Way to Freedom;
by Anthony Papa with Jennifer Wynn. A rare adventure story: how
a family man, railroaded by the subterfuge surrounding the War
on Drugs, was able to get an early release from prison and become
a major activist against draconian drug laws.
|Family Arrested: How To Survive The Incarceration
Of A Loved One; By Ann Edenfield. The author, based on
personal experience, shares how to survive the prison system
and gives the reader a glimpse into this frightening and rarely
discussed world. "Each suggestion is shared in an easy-to-read
form that should be on the shelves of every battered women's
shelter, homeless shelter, prison library, halfway house, and
public defender's office." - Richard Benke, Associated
|Gates of Injustice - by Alan Elsner is
a compelling exposé of the U.S. prison system: it tells
how more than 2 million Americans came to be incarcerated ...
what it's really like on the inside ... and how a giant "prison-industrial
complex" promotes imprisonment over other solutions.
|Smoke and Mirrors: The War on Drugs and the Politics
of Failure; By Dan Baum. Baum interviewed more than 175
people - from John Ehrlichman to Janet Reno - to tell the story
of how Drug War fever has been escalated; who has benefited along
the way; and how the mounting price in dollars, lives, and liberties
has been willfully ignored. Baum is a former reporter for the
Wall Street Journal and the Atlanta Constitution,
and has worked as a journalist on four continents
||America's Longest War: Rethinking Our Tragic
Crusade Against Drugs; By Stephen Duke and Albert C. Gross.
Written by Yale law professor Duke with lawyer/writer Gross,
it is both comprehensive and accessible, devoid of academic jargon,
yet detailed in its historical treatment and analysis. The authors'
subject, in the broadest sense, is how and why the formulation
of America's drug policy purposefully ignores scientific data
and requires rejection of historical perspective. Available from
your local bookstore, or www.amazon.com.
|Down by the River: Drugs, Money, Murder, and
Family - by Charles Bowden. Profits previously unimaginable
are within reach for the daring in a black market created by
drug prohibition laws. In "Down by the River," Charles
Bowden investigates and records for history a collage of bizarre
events at the frontlines of a war that can never be won. Available
through your local book store.
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