Drug-free school zones, which stiffen penalties for drug crimes at schools, don’t discourage drug dealing and are unfair to minorities, contend the Drug Policy Alliance and the Justice Policy Institute, two groups that advocate reducing penalties for non-violent drug crimes, reports USA Today. Drug-free zones commonly extend 1,000 feet in all directions from a school, but some set the distance as far as 3 miles. They have been expanded to cover such places as public housing, parks, and playgrounds.
In some urban areas, drug-free zones are so numerous that they blanket almost entire cities. No one knows where the zones begin and end and therefore they have little deterrent effect, the groups say. Drug arrests don’t decline in the zones, say the groups, citing figures from Connecticut and New Jersey.