Newsbrief: Texas Bill Would Ban Drug Offenders from Entering Certain San Antonio Neighborhoods 1/21/05

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Rep. Ruth Jones McLendon (D-San Antonio) has introduced a bill in the Texas legislature that would allow the city of San Antonio to ban anyone arrested for a drug offense from entering certain parts of the city except to go directly home or to work. The bill focuses on San Antonio neighborhoods that have large numbers of drug arrests. Incredibly, persons could be banned for up to 90 days upon arrest, allowing punishment to commence before people are actually convicted of a crime. Upon conviction, drug offenders could be banned from those neighborhoods for up to a year.

"What we're trying to do is put these drug dealers out of the city of San Antonio," said McClendon upon announcing the legislation. But the bill in actuality does not aim solely at persons arrested or convicted for drug trafficking offenses.

As the Drug Policy Alliance pointed out in a press release denouncing the bill, "The vast majority of people arrested for drug offenses in San Antonio are arrested for marijuana possession. They're not dealers or addicts. And for the minority who are, this bill will do more harm than good. Someone who has a substance abuse problem needs treatment and reintegration into the community -- both of which are proven to reduce recidivism. They don't need isolation," said DPA director of public policy Michael Blain.

Such a bill would also have a disproportionate impact on San Antonio's African-American and large Hispanic communities, according to Blain. "This law is discriminatory," he said. "While drug use is widespread throughout society, law enforcement focuses on African American and Latino communities. The bill also flies in the face of our most democratic principle of being innocent until proven guilty by condemning people solely on the basis of arrest."

It may also have constitutional problems. A similar measure in Cincinnati was struck down by the courts as unconstitutional.

Click here to read the bill online.

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Issue #371 -- 1/21/05

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Editorial: Unfortunate Bedfellows | Following Oklahoma's Lead, States Target Cold Remedies in Fight Against Methamphetamine | Mexican Stand-Off: Government Sends in Tanks, Soldiers in Effort to Retake Prisons from Narcos | Blogging: A Stunning Admission by Baltimore Police Officials, and More | This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories | Newsbrief: German Supreme Court Rejects "Zero Tolerance" Drugged Driving Law in Cannabis Case | Newsbrief: Mass Arrests of Drug Users in Iran | Newsbrief: Marijuana Bills Filed -- Medical Marijuana in New Jersey, Decriminalization in New Hampshire | Newsbrief: Resistance to Methadone Clinics Rears Head in Virginia, Washington State | Newsbrief: King County Bar Association (Seattle) Calls for Legal, Regulated Drug Markets | Newsbrief: Texas Bill Would Ban Drug Offenders from Entering Certain San Antonio Neighborhoods | Newsbrief: Last Week's Supreme Court Ruling Pays Off for New York Woman | Newsbrief: Martha Stewart, Prisoner Advocate | Newsbrief: MPP Assists Poor Montana Medical Marijuana Patients | Newsbrief: Maine Activist Providing Medical Marijuana Indicted for Trafficking and Cultivation | This Week in History | The Reformer's Calendar

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