Sunday, June 24, 2007

US: mayor of Newark speaks out against the drug war destroying his city

From the spiritual home of the war on drugs, a political leader with the intelligence to see what is going on, the courage to speak out, and the sense to try and do something constructive about it.

Cory Booker, Mayor of Newark


Booker redirects his anger at the war on drugs
(after page one click 'outside the US' to read the remainder of the article)

He is an angrier man now. And the focus of that anger is a public policy that he believes is ruining his city and threatening his hopes to change it.

The problem, he says, is New Jersey's tough tactics in the drug war. We are heavy on jail time and unforgiving even when prisoners finish their terms. At a time when even states like Texas are changing course, we are sticking with our failed strategy.

The result is to turn thousands of young men into economic cripples and to give the crime wave in Newark a flood of fresh recruits. Booker describes it as almost an economic genocide against African-American men in his city.

And if it doesn't change, he says, he's ready to go to jail in protest, in the tradition of the civil rights movement.

"I'm going to battle on this," the mayor says. "We're going to start doing it the gentlemanly way. And then we're going to do the civil disobedience way. Because this is absurd.

"I'm talking about marches. I'm talking about sit-ins at the state capitol. I'm talking about whatever it takes."

He wants to reserve prison cells for those who do violence and divert the nonviolent drug offenders into treatment programs and halfway houses.

"The drug war is causing crime," Booker says. "It is just chewing up young black men. And it's killing Newark." [...]

He knows it'll be tough. But when he talks about it, the political smile disappears and he wears the expression of a man preparing to smash his head into a brick wall if that's what it takes.

Lucky thing. Because that wall is sturdy. And it's way past time that someone knocked it down.

Some more quotes on drug law reform from US politicians in the Transform supprters of reform archive

thanks to Drug War Rant


Anonymous said...

Interesting parallels here with alcohol prohibition, where the Mayor of New York, Fiorella la Guardia, was one of the first public figures to stick his head above the parapet and call for prohibition's repeal.

Anonymous said...

greetings mr.mayor my name is andre larkins who has been suspended from northern state prison for the past two years on drug charges stemming from one car sale to a now deceased individual i would love to join your team my resume is 20 years hard time as state correction officer please contact me at