McCain Hawkish On Anti-Drug Policy, Reform Unlikely: Columnist


Will the U.S. “war on drugs” and its expanding prison culture make it into the presidential campaign, asks columnist Neil Peirce in Nation’s Cities Weekly. Standard wisdom says “no way.” Peirce says the nation “may have created a huge ‘prison-industrial complex’ of prison builders, contractors, and swollen criminal justice bureaucracies.”

After studying statements of the presidential candidates, Peirce’s “early reading is that with McCain, there'd be a thin chance of reform. But under Obama, much brighter prospects.” He notes that Obama has advocated the Second Chance Act on prisoner re-entry but McCain has been routinely “hawkish” on drug policy, endorsing higher penalties for drug-selling, supporting the death penalty for drug kingpins, and opposing any softening of laws forbidding marijuana use, which he characterizes as a dangerous “gateway drug.” Obama, by contrast, says the more focus put on diversion programs, drug courts, treatment of substance abusers, and “encourag[ing] training and skills and literacy [] the more effective we are in reducing recidivism rates.”


Comments are closed.