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Opinion

Letter to the Editor

In last Monday’s “Ode to Reagan,” freedom was mentioned numerous times.

In 1980, the prison population was 474,368 inmates; in 1990, the prison population was 1,148,702. The huge spike in inmates is largely attributed to the War on Drugs, a disgusting policy that has cost this country billions of dollars, infringed upon the civil liberties of millions of non-violent offenders and has severely disrupted numerous Central and South American governments.

A 200 percent increase in prison population should be alarming. The billions of dollars spent on enforcement, processing and imprisonment should be even more alarming.
The War on Drugs continues to erode our society and incarcerate our most vulnerable populations. In 2011, America has the highest rate of incarceration. You are much more likely to be imprisoned in America than Russia or China. Furthermore, there are serious racial disparities in drug sentencing. In 1994, 74 percent of people sent to prison for drug possession were African Americans. This is the supposed land of the free.

Nixon started this War on Drugs, Reagan militarized it and every president since has perpetuated this erroneous policy. Next time you want to write a puff piece, please consider historical facts. If you think I’m some pot-smoking, Reagan-hating anarchist, Google “Iran-Contra Affair” or “Mujahideen.” Or consider this: In a recent survey, 21 percent of high school students admitted to smoking cannabis in the last month, 19 percent admitted to smoking a cigarette.

Michael Ujifusa

micahel.ujifusa@drake.edu

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