Wednesday, March 03, 2004
Imagine a world where the government had complete control over all channels into the country - air, land, water, everything. Where all incoming and outgoing mail is monitored. Where computer access, and moreso Internet access, is largely unavailable to prevent inappropriate communication. Where police seem omnipresent, and failing to immediately heed their orders will result in sanction and perhaps in severe penalty. Where the state tells you when to get up in the morning, what you will do during the day, what you will wear, when to eat, what you will eat, and when to go to bed - even when you can shower. Even when and under what conditions you can see your spouse or children. Where the state controls what you watch on TV, and doesn't permit access to programs, movies, or reading materials that may be "disruptive to order". Where the genders are kept segregated, and where a gathering of four or more persons is likely to be quickly broken up by the police (with participants in the gathering subject to being charged with gang activity).
Not North Korea - I am describing the restrictions on liberty imposed by a typical prison in the United States. But if you speak with a prisoner, you will learn that despite this level of state control, drugs are freely available in prisons. Often of a higher quality than on the streets, and usually at a lower price.
If we can't win "the war on drugs" in prisons, who are we fooling with the notion that our present drug policies make any sense at all?