Why Do Prison and Alcohol Lobbies Oppose Drug Treatment?

Submitted by smorgan on
I’ve been severely remiss in failing thus far to cover the very important Prop. 5 in California. The Nonviolent Offender Rehabilitation Act (NORA) would save billions in incarceration costs by referring many drug offenders into treatment instead of prison. It’s a significant reform and the vested drug war interests are in full-blown panic mode trying to defeat it.

The drug czar is in California right now campaigning against it, and a who’s who of drug war profiteers have assembled a well-funded No on 5 campaign, branding Prop. 5 as "the drug dealer’s bill of rights." So who exactly is funding opposition to this commonsense drug treatment initiative?

DPA director Ethan Nadelmann explains via email:

Last week the powerful prison guards union contributed $1 million to the opposition campaign.  That's on top of hundreds of thousands of dollars from Indian tribes/casinos with close links to law enforcement as well as $100,000 from the California Beer and Beverage Distributors.

Isn’t it obvious what’s going on here? The prison industry lobbies shamelessly to keep as many people in prison as possible. The alcohol industry defends the interests of the criminal justice infrastructure that protects their monopoly on legal intoxication. And yet the drug czar has the audacity to present George Soros’s support for reform as some kind of shady conspiracy. It’s just amazing, it really is.

It’s not even my style to go around accusing our opposition of unscrupulous drug war profiteering at every turn, but what else is there to say about this? It’s right in front of our face. It’s as transparent as it is hypocritical. And it can’t be allowed to succeed.

If you live in California, please vote YES on Prop. 5 and tell everyone you know to do the same.

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Source URL: https://stopthedrugwar.org/speakeasy/2008/oct/22/why_do_prison_and_alcohol_lobbie