The Reformation of the Rockefeller Drug Laws Thesis

Policy A: The Rockefeller Drug Law Reform Act

The policy options implemented for solving the drug-related problems, including the increased rates of addiction and can vary from one extreme of war and draconian punishments to the legalization of particular substances in different countries and at different stages of their development. In recent years, significant success has been made in many countries which have reformed their policies by recognizing drug addiction as a chronic disease.

For instance, the recent changes in Chinas drug policies were based upon the premise that treatment f addicted individuals are preferable to incarcerating them. The government of China has come to realize that simply bringing drug addicts to justice is not the ultimate solution in the new era of drug addiction in China (Liu et al, 2010, p. 153). The same approach of replacing the prolonged sentences for with paroles and involvement in the treatment programs was adopted by the US policymakers who reformed the drug laws in 2009.

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Another influential factor deserving consideration when discussing the rationale for reforming the anti-drug policies is the economical implications of the increased inmate population and the prolonged sentences. Through the financial and legal analysis, it has been discovered that the draconian punishment for non-violent drug offenses is cost-ineffective.

Treatment delivered in the community is one of the most cost-effective ways to prevent such crimes and costs approximately $20,000 less than incarceration per person per year (Justice Policy Institute, 2010, p. 8). After the implementation of Rockefeller drug laws, the prison population has increased significantly, while the prisoners arrested for , including the storage of small amounts of substance for their personal use only counted for the largest part of the inmates.

These measures placed the main burden and spent enormous amounts of resources upon the addicted, while the big players of the illegal drug trade remained unpunished. On the contrary, the draconian drug law enforcement was associated with the increased levels of drug market violence (Werb et al, 2011, p. 90).

Regardless of the significant changes in the American legislation which were made in 2009 (Walder 2010), including the involvement of the into the treatment programs as the alternative to prisons, the increase of the judicial discretion for making the non-violent offenders be eligible for the probation or local jail time and resentencing of the non-violent offenders who were incarcerated before the enactment of the reform.

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