Michael Douglas Questions Criminal Justice System at Emmy Awards
Date:  09-24-2013

Famed actor brings international attention to drug addiction and imprisonment
Accepting his Emmy award for Outstanding Actor in a Miniseries or Movie, Michael Douglas made a few jokes and thanked his wife and children, giving a special “shout out” to his son Cameron who is serving time in federal prison for selling drugs, saying “I’m hoping…they’ll allow me to see him soon.” “They” are federal prison authorities who have placed Cameron in solitary confinement for smuggling drugs into prison.

Michael Douglas has publicly acknowledged that his son is a drug addict, and even blamed his son’s addiction on himself, claiming that he was a bad father. Cameron was arrested twice for possession of cocaine, once in 1999 and again in 2007. In January of 2010 Cameron again made news when he pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possession of heroin after being arrested when his girlfriend smuggled the drugs to him while he was under house arrest. In April of that year Cameron was sentenced to five years in prison for possession of heroin and for dealing methamphetamine and cocaine. But as with most addicts, prison failed to stop his addiction and in 2011 he was sentenced to 4.5 more years for possessing drugs in prison.

In January of this year Cameron failed a drug test and was placed in solitary confinement. With that punishment comes the added penalty of not being able to have visits, and that was what Michael Cameron was referring to in his acceptance speech.

But he did not stop there. In a backstage meeting with the press Michael Douglas had harsh words for “the system,” telling reporters, “Well, my son is in federal prison based upon, he's been a drug addict for a large part of his life and was arrested and selling drugs and is in federal prison. And part of their punishments if you happen to have a slip, this is for a prisoner who is nonviolent, as about a half a million of our drug addicted prisoners are, they punish you. So for my son's case, he's spent almost 2 years in solitary confinement and right now I'm being told that I cannot see him for two years." He went on to add, "It's over a year now and I'm questioning the system. Obviously, at first, I was certainly disappointed with my son, but I've reached a point now where I'm very, very disappointed with the system and, as you can see, from what Attorney General Eric Holder has been doing, and other issues regarding our prison system, I think things are going to be revived regarding nonviolent drug addicts/criminals. My last comment on that is the United States represents 5 percent of the world's population and we have 25 percent of the world's prisoners."

Cameron Douglas appealed his sentence but lost. He is due to be released in 2018.

On May 12, 2012 the New York Times published an article by Maia Szalavitz that explains why scientists and addiction experts also question “the system.”

Click here to read more.