Posted in Our Blog on November 7, 2013
On a recent episode of our TV show, John Redmann: Power of Attorney, we spoke with criminal defense attorney Joseph Marino about drug offenses. Joseph shared lots of interesting and important information about the criminal laws surrounding drugs in Louisiana.
It’s well-known that the United States is more punitive in its drug laws than are other wealthy, advanced countries, and among all states, Louisiana’s drug laws are the most punitive. We as a state incarcerate people at a higher rate than anywhere else in the world, more than countries like Iran, China, and Cuba. Research suggests that successful drug enforcement policies should emphasize treatment for drug abuse over incarceration. Nevertheless, Louisiana continues to lock up people for nonviolent drug offenses at a huge rate, and the drug laws don’t look like they will change anytime soon. Earlier this year, the Times-Picayune reported that privately-owned prisons in Louisiana receive public money from the state in the amount of $24.39 per prisoner per day (That money, by the way, comes from the taxpayers, and goes straight into the coffers of the wealthy businessmen who own these prisons.). These businesses have an incentive, then, to acquire more and more inmates, and the powerful people who lobby on their behalf work hard to stop any reform of the state’s criminal drug policies.
Drugs are, obviously, a destructive force. Not only are they addictive, harmful, and can lead to criminal behavior and even death in extreme circumstances, but a drug conviction can be damaging to a person’s prospects for finding work and housing. Families can be broken apart when a member is sentenced to a mandatory minimum term in prison for a drug offense, and the effects of that conviction trickle down to the other members of the family, creating a cycle that can be hard to break.
That’s why it’s so important that we educate ourselves about drug abuse treatment. If you know somebody who is suffering from drug addiction, we encourage you to get involved and direct them toward information and, ultimately, treatment. Not just for their health’s sake, but for the sake of their and their family’s future.