Budget cuts? Police first!!

2 comments, 24/02/2009, by , in Opinion
Perusing the news as I usual do, I come across LA sheriff could free 4,000 inmates due to budget.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca told The Associated Press on Monday it looks as if he’ll have to close two jails and eliminate the positions of the staff at those facilities.

“There’s no way around me cutting $71 million out of the budget that won’t affect having to close a jail or two,” Baca said. “I have to start cutting.”

Baca hasn’t finalized plans, but said he was looking at closing two of the county’s 10 jail facilities: the old central jail, which houses about 2,300 inmates; and part of another facility in Castaic in the north of the county that houses about 1,500 inmates. Violent offenders from the closed jails would be housed in other facilities.

Closing those facilities would eliminate positions for about 400 of the department’s 10,000 deputies and another 200 or so civilian jobs would be lost too. The job cuts would come primarily through a hiring freeze.

Of the inmates that would be released early, Baca said he’d first look to nonviolent offenders who are awaiting trial.

I can only see this as a good thing as it pertains to police AND marijuana reform.

gaining perspective

While I wouldn’t want to see anyone hurt by this economy, it’s an inevitable occurrence and it couldn’t happen to a “better” group of people in my opinion. Let’s be honest here folks. Police departments, along with the prison industry, are the most bloated and costly expenditure to the American taxpayer. Take for example, in 2007, there were about 872,000 marijuana-based arrests [Drug Sense via FBI]. These are the arrests that the former drug czar, John Walters, claims didn’t happen. He called them unicorns because he said they didn’t exist. Obviously, there are about 872,000 unicorns in 2007 alone. At any rate, that’s one dirty, lying cop that I am glad to see gone.

let’s talk numbers

But, I digress. I want people to think about the billions of dollars spent in time, man power, prison, helicopters, technology, and so on. Think about the billions of dollars that could be saved if we stop acting as if the police are doing this nation a great service by arresting and destroying the life of some lowly pothead. Think about the billions of dollars that get diverted away from hospitals, schools, and roads only to support a failed war on drugs.

Imagine that it costs $35,000 to keep a person in prison for one year (don’t get ahead of me). Now, multiply that by 872,000 lowly potheads that were arrested and imprisoned in 2007. That’s $30,000,000,000 per year to hold people who use marijuana. That’s $30,000,000,000 that could have gone to teachers, school books, afterschool programs, nurses, bridge construction, road work, and so on. That $35,000 per person could be used to hire someone for a job. That’s a potential of 872,000 jobs that could be saved nation wide. And these numbers only look at the cost of KEEPING a pothead in prison. In the United States, the war on drugs costs American taxpayers upwards of $70,000,000,000 and that’s before anyone is even arrested. WOW!

big bad pothead theory

My feelings are that if we’re going to start cutbacks here, start with the police and corrections first. Release non-violent criminals who don’t belong in prison in the first place. There’s no reason we should be spending tens of thousands per person to keep them in prison when they pose no harm to the community.

Seriously, how can a marijuana user be any more benign? Who’s afraid of the big bad pothead? Who’s afraid of the of the “deflated” chick in the anti-marijuana ad? Oh no! Watch out! She’s gonna getcha! Riiiiiiiiight! It’s laughable to say the least.

regaining perspective

I believe that this economy is going to define marijuana policy in the future. The United States finally has to prioritize it’s responsibilities to the people because times are tough. While this is possibly the crappiest reason to redefine marijuana policy, it’s about time the United States seriously addresses the incomprehensible madness that is US drug policy as a whole. I simply don’t understand how is it that a pothead, such as myself, cares more about jobs and families than a supposed normal person. How can it be considered normal to believe that jailing a pothead is more important than saving a teacher’s job or lowering the costs of medical expenses for a struggling family?

Am I, a pothead, really the problem with the United States?
You’d have to be in the Twilight Zone to believe that (or an overpaid police officer)!


About anthonytaurus

  • I have a few ‘finds’ on that topic – mostly recent entries. The easiest way to give you that information is via my del.icio.us indexed file. If you’re not familiar with the system, fiddle with ‘tag’ controls and ‘showing’ until you get what works best for you. Here’s a sample

    Main index and supplementary files lists are at Opit’s Linkfest on the links page http://my.opera.com/oldephartte/links/
    Many online tools are introduced in Utilities on the website, Software, Web 2.0 and education add many more. For spam I suggest you try Akismet. I used it for 2 years as a free complement to WordPress.

  • ps my granny gave me my first gun when i was 8, it is common place in the country and been that way for years – its them damn city kids