Distorted Financial Incentives for Enforcement

Ever wonder why police spend so much time enforcing failed drug laws?  To find the answer, you just need to follow the money.  Funding schemes and asset forfeiture laws have given law enforcement agencies strong financial incentives to continue the drug war.  Because funding for drug task forces is often based on the number of arrests made and the amount of property seized in drug busts, the easiest way for local police to up their numbers and boost their careers is to target low-level drug offenders, not violent kingpins.  To create arrest opportunities, police routinely rely on untrustworthy informants, conduct dangerous home invasions on flimsy evidence, frame suspects and commit perjury.  Asset forfeiture laws allow law enforcement agencies to seize property with minimal proof, putting the burden instead on suspects to prove their own innocence.  Because these assets often go straight into the coffers of the enforcement agency, these laws have created financial incentives for property seizures that encourage corruption.  DPA is working to end distorted drug war incentives that foster police corruption and encourage good cops to make bad decisions.
 

Sensible Asset Forfeiture Reform Proposal Fails in Colorado Senate

Advocates Reminded of the Often Undeserved Sway of Law Enforcement  

Contact:

Art Way, 720-288-6924

TODAY: Sen. Rand Paul Leads Bipartisan Introduction of Legislation in Both Houses of Congress to Crack Down on Civil Asset Forfeiture Program Launched at Height of Drug War

FAIR Act Would Eliminate Department of Justice Program that Enables State and Local Police to Keep Proceeds of Property Seized from Citizens

Momentum Builds in Congress for Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Days after Attorney General Holder Issues Policy Limiting Police Participation in Controversial Department of Justice Program

Bipartisan legislation was introduced in both houses of Congress today that would roll back changes made in the 1980s by Congress to federal civil asset forfeiture laws largely intended to incentivize law enforcement to pursue civil asset forfeitures as part of the rapid escalation of the war on drugs. In the Senate, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Sen. Angus King (I-ME) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) introduced the Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration (FAIR) Act. In the House, Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI), Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ), Rep.

Contact: Tony Newman, 646-335-5384 or Bill Piper, 202-669-6430

Attorney General Holder Ends Incentive for Law Enforcement to Seize Property

Property Seizures by Local and State Police Often Conducted Under Pretext that Property Is Connected to Illegal Drugs

Advocates Applaud Holder for New Policy, Urge Congress to Make Reforms Permanent

Today, Attorney General Eric Holder issued an order establishing a new policy prohibiting federal agencies from accepting civil asset forfeiture assets seized by state and local law enforcement agencies unless the owner is convicted of a crime. The U.S.

Contact: Tony Newman 646-335-5384 or Bill Piper 202-669-6430

Taking Control: Pathways to Drug Policies That Work

September 8, 2014
Global Commission on Drug Policy

This report reflects a new evolution in the thinking of the Global Commission, which includes Kofi Annan, Richard Branson, and the former presidents of Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Poland, Portugal and Switzerland. They not only reiterate their demands for decriminalization, alternatives to incarceration, and greater emphasis on public health approaches – but now also call for responsible legal regulation of currently-illegal drugs.

New Jersey Assembly Passes Major Bail Reform Legislation Which Now Moves to Governor Christie's Desk for Signature

Two-Year Battle for Bail Reform Culminates in Comprehensive Legislation That Will Promote Justice, Fairness and Public Safety
 
Advocates Applaud Bi-Partisan Effort for Reform
 

Contact:

Tony Papa  646-420-7290
Roseanne Scotti 609-610-8243

The DEA: Four Decades of Impeding And Rejecting Science

June 9, 2014
Drug Policy Alliance, MAPS

This report, co-published by DPA and MAPS, illustrates a decades-long pattern of behavior that demonstrates the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA’s) inability to exercise its responsibilities in a fair and impartial manner or to act in accord with the scientific evidence. The report’s case studies reveal a number of DEA practices that maintain the existing, scientifically unsupported drug scheduling system and obstruct research that might alter current drug schedules.

Riverside County School Districts Letter

March 17, 2014

To highlight the atrocities that have gone on in Riverside County high schools and hopefully prevent future ones, the Drug Policy Alliance sent this letter to 20 school district superintendents in Riverside County urging them not to allow undercover law enforcement operations on their campuses.  Such operations are ineffective at combating drug availability on campus and worse, they inflict irreparable harm on young people struggling with the challenges of adolescence or special needs.  The letter also informed schools about the potential legal liability for allowing such operatio

Synthetic Drugs and "Legal Highs": Establish Restrictions But Don't Criminalize Them

February 21, 2014

A series of synthetic products have emerged that simulate the effects of prohibited drugs like marijuana, ecstasy (MDMA), opioids, cocaine and methamphetamine. Often called “legal highs” or “research chemicals” and largely unregulated, these drugs may cause considerably more harm than the substances they are designed to mimic. While states and Congress have rushed to prohibit these chemicals, manufacturers have simply invented new variations of the same substances to skirt the bans.

New Zealand's Groundbreaking Regulatory Model for New Synthetic Drugs

February 21, 2014

After first attempting to prohibit various synthetic drugs, New Zealand realized that simply banning these substances was unrealistic and ineffective.  In July 2013, the country’s Parliament enacted an historic new law that will regulate and control – rather than criminalize – so-called “bath salts” and other new synthetic drugs.

Healthcare Not Handcuffs: Putting the Affordable Care Act to Work for Criminal Justice and Drug Policy Reform

December 12, 2013
Drug Policy Alliance, American Civil Liberties Union

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) represents a remarkable opportunity for criminal justice and drug policy reform advocates to advance efforts to enact policy changes that promote safe and healthy communities, without excessively relying on criminal justice solutions that have become so prevalent under the war on drugs, and which fall so disproportionately on low-income communities and communities of color.

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