A devastating indictment of the War on Drugs
Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed and What We Can Do About It
A Judicial Indictment of the War on Drugs
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Judge James P. Gray
Our drug prohibition policy is hopeless, just as Prohibition, our alcohol prohibition policy, was before it. Today there are more drugs in our communities and at lower prices and higher strengths than ever before.
We have built large numbers of prisons, but they are overflowing with non-violent drug offenders. The huge profits made from drug sales are corrupting people and institutions here and abroad. And far from being protected by our drug prohibition policy, our children are being recruited by it to a lifestyle of drug use and drug selling.
Judge Grayís book drives a stake through the heart of the War on Drugs. After documenting the wide-ranging harms caused by this failed policy, Judge Gray also gives us hope. We have viable options. The author evaluates these options, ranging from education and drug treatment to different strategies for taking the profit out of drug-dealing.
Many officials will not say publicly what they acknowledge privately about the failure of the War on Drugs. Politicians especially are afraid of not appearing "tough on drugs." But Judge Grayís conclusions as a veteran trial judge and former federal prosecutor are reinforced by the testimonies of more than forty other judges nationwide.
"However harmful the ingestion of drugs are to their users, the attempt to prohibit drugs has made matters far worse, threatening our basic rights to life, liberty and property. That is Judge Gray's thesis in this important book and he cites overwhelming evidence to support it. His proposals to improve the situation do not go as far as I would like, but they are all feasible and in the right direction. If adopted, they would produce a major improvement."
"The war on drugs cannot be a war on discussion of this problem. We can fight drug use and abuse and still explore viable options. Judge Gray illuminates options and in the process will promote necessary discussion of them."
"It's all here! A stinging indictment of today's drug strategies and a rallying cry around new strategies for tomorrow."
"It has been said that in public policy development we must distinguish between ideas that sound good and good ideas that are sound. In this book, Judge Gray provides sound ideas for a more effective national drug control policy. He recognizes that the War on Drugs needs new thinking for this new century."
"Judge Gray's thorough and scholarly work, based as it is on his personal experience, should help considerably to improve our impossible drug laws. [His] book drives a stake through the heart of the failed War on Drugs and gives us options to hope for in the battles to come"
"...as engrossing and highly readable as its title is obvious. An encyclopedia of facts and figures underscoring our failed policies, together with a visionary path out of this mess. Gray's book catalogs the scandalous waste of resources that we continue to throw at the criminalization of a problem that a strong majority of Californians now understand is fundamentally a social and public health issue. Gray also makes good on his guarantee set forth in the Introduction: No one who reads the book will favor a continuation of our present drug policy, unless that person has a vested interest in the continuation of the policy. ...Gray's fine contribution to the subject provide[s] [an] important addition to the growing library of works that make the irrefutably strong case for the decriminalization of drugs. [The book] will hopefully become required reading for all policy-makers."
"James P. Gray, a California Superior Court judge and a former Republican congressional candidate, has written perhaps the most convincing indictment ever that the war on drugs can never be won. ...Gray's careful, sobering book provides grounds for taking a fresh look at our national drug policies."
"...an impassioned plea to reconsider the War on Drugs before it does more harm to our society and our legal system."
" Gray, a trial judge in the Superior Court in Orange County California, called a press conference on April 8, 1992 to announce that, 'our country's attempt through the criminal justice system to combat drug use and abuse, and all of the crime and misery that accompany them, were not working.' His book provides a comprehensive defense of that indictment..."
"Against the backdrop of this 'worst of all worlds,' Judge Gray offers up and evaluates a variety of options, ranging from education and drug treatment to different strategies for taking the profit out of drug-dealing."
"No aspect of the drug war is ignored, no argument in favor of handling drugs through the legal system is spared attention, and few drug warriors emerge unscathed."
"...an interesting, well-written, and lively account of the costs of drug prohibition."
Visit Judge Gray's website: www.judgejimgray.com.
Part I: Introduction
Part II: Our Drug laws Have Failed
Part III: Options
Part IV: What We Can Do About It
Appendix A: Resolution