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Drug Policy Effects on Rates of Incarceration

  • By: Marcella Bush Trevino
  • In: Encyclopedia of Drug Policy
  • Edited by: Mark A. R. Kleiman & James E. Hawdon
  • Subject:Public Policy, Drug Crimes

U.S. drug policy encompasses enforcement, prevention, and treatment, with a heavy emphasis on enforcement. The rates of correlation between drug use and crime are high in both the U.S. adult and juvenile populations, countering the argument that drug addiction is a victimless crime that only affects the user. Drugs fuel crime through the behavioral effects of drug use, the expense of drug use, and the crime related to illegal drug dealing and trafficking. Rates of incarceration for drug offenses rose dramatically due to federal mandatory minimum sentencing for drug offenses. Advocates and opponents of U.S. drug policy argue whether drug use is a moral, medical, or criminal problem and whether the link between drugs and crime is caused by drug abuse or the policies enacted ...

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