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.
 

Report of the Global Commission on Drug Policy

June 2, 2011
Global Commission on Drug Policy

The Global Commission, whose members include Kofi Annan and four former presidents, calls the drug war a failure and advocates a paradigm shift in global drug policy. The commission's bold recommendations include encouraging governments to experiment with legalization of drugs, particularly marijuana; putting an end to drug policies being driven by ideology and politics; and directing resources away from arresting and incarcerating so many people for drug law violations.

Snitching: Criminal Informants and the Erosion of American Justice

Alexandra Natapoff
New York and London: New York University Press. 2009.

Collateral Costs: Incarceration's Effect on Economic Mobility

September 23, 2010
jointly authored by The Economic Mobility Project and the Public Safety Performance Project of the Pew Charitable Trusts

Collateral Costs: Incarceration's Effect on Economic Mobility is a collaborative effort between the Pew Charitable Trusts' Economic Mobility Project and its Public Safety Performance Project (PSPP). The report examines the impact of incarceration on the economic opportunity and mobility of former inmates and their families.

Federal Activist Toolkit

We can make a powerful impact by urging our members of Congress to end failed drug war policies. They care what their constituents have to say.
 

Tips for Talking to Congress

Legislators appreciate hearing from their constituents, and they are elected to represent our views. Always give your legislator your name, address, and telephone number so that they know you are one of their constituents. Be sure to include this information whether you visit in person, call, or write.

When you contact your legislators, a short sentence or two about why you personally support or oppose a certain proposal is fine. 

Most importantly, always be courteous and clear when communicating with your legislators. Remember, legislators are people, too!

The Cost of NYC's Marijuana Possession Arrests in 2010: $75 Million

Marijuana Possession #1 Arrest in NYC, Comprise 15% of All Arrests; Majority of Those Arrested Are Black and Latino Youth

City Council Members, Community Groups Hold Press Conference at City Hall to Issue Major Report, Discuss Economic and Human Toll of Skyrocketing Arrests

NEW YORK: A new report released today at City Hall finds that arrests for marijuana possession cost New York City taxpayers approximately $75 million each year. The report, titled "$75 Million A Year", documents the astronomical financial costs of marijuana possession arrests in New York City. Major findings from the report include:
 

Tony Newman at 646-335-5384 or Gabriel Sayegh at 646-335-2264

Cut Funding for the Drug War

Congress is working on a new federal budget. Tell them to cut the funding that helps keep the drug war alive at the local level.

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