drugs: Elderly woman in Dark Prison behind bars

Drug Charge Reforms, Compassionate Release Could Save Florida Money

Florida currently spends $2.4 billion annually on its criminal justice system. With the state’s criminal justice system operations being the third largest in the country, there are more than 96,000 Floridians in state prisons and another 166,000 under community supervision. We saw a 9% reduction in crime rates statewide in 2018, which is in line with Florida’s 48-year trend.

drugs: Conviction focused determined passionate confident powerful eyes stare intense male

After Falling in Love With Drugs, My Focus Is on My Daughters

Ten years ago I met my wife. We were high school sweethearts. We fell in love fast. Our love was like electricity. We were together every day. Things between us were great. She was the best friend I had always wanted. We stayed together all through high school, graduated together and moved into a home together.

Self-esteem: Flower struggles to break through cracked pavement.

Low Self-esteem, Feeling Alone Let the Gangs, Streets Shape Me

I am 38 years old. I have been incarcerated almost 15 years now. I have a sentence of LWOP (life without parole) plus 25 to life for a first-degree murder with drive-by enhancement. I was raised in the Bay Area on the Oakland side of the water. My family was big. Dad’s side was Mexican, mom’s side was white.

Kids and Drugs: A New Theory

Author and reporter Maia Szalavitz, who writes about substance use and related issues recently spoke with Youth Today and JJIE about her experience and her newest book: “Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction,” released in April. Here’s Szalavitz’s take on addiction and its complexities, from her own experience and in her own words.

Mothers & Fathers; Sons & Daughters

Two mothers and a father talk about what it’s like to be the parent of a substance user in this affecting piece about frustration and loss.

Pennsylvania Won’t Disclose Names of Doctors Prescribing in Youth Corrections

The state defied an Office of Open Records ruling and took the matter to court to conceal the names of doctors prescribing to kids confined in its six correctional facilities.
The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services insisted the physicians who care for and prescribe to the state’s most chronic or violent youth offenders would be endangered if their names were made public.

ACLU Report Says Marijuana Laws Discriminate Against Blacks

A report released by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) earlier this week found that in 2010, African-Americans were approximately four times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana possession — this, despite that fact that national data indicates the two populations use marijuana at nearly the same rates. Furthermore, in several states, including Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota, the ACLU said African-Americans were busted for pot at rates from 7.5 to 8 times higher than whites. Regardless of region, the ACLU reports that these discrepancies in arrest rate by race remain consistent. “In over 96 percent of counties with more than 30,000 people in which at least 2 percent of the residents are black,” the report reads, “blacks are arrested at higher rates than whites for marijuana possession.”

Overall, New York, Texas, California, Florida and Illinois were found to have the highest rates of marijuana possession arrests. In almost half of all states, the ACLU found that possession offenses accounted for more than 90 percent of marijuana arrests.

Growing Up to Be Stickup Kids

NEW YORK –By the early 1990s, the crack era that devoured New York City in the 1980s was on the decline and crime rates were similarly falling. But Randol Contreras saw something different on the streets in the South Bronx neighborhood where he grew up. His drug dealer friends, no longer making the same money selling crack, were turning to robbing drug dealers for an increasingly dwindling share of the market. One vice traded for another, more violent one. His book “Stickup Kids: Race, Drugs, Violence and the American Dream,” published by the University of California Press last month, chronicles the downfall of the drug trade and the young Dominican men from his childhood neighborhood that tried to make an often dangerous living in it.