The Vera Institute of Justice released a new report Drug War Détente? A Review of State-Level Drug Law Reform , 2009 – 2013, complete with infographic.
The summary of the report states:
Ever since 1971, when President Richard Nixon declared an “all-out offensive”
against drug abuse—“America’s public enemy number one”—drug interdiction
has been a mainstay of crime control policy in the United States. Yet, despite
more than four decades of concerted law enforcement effort, meaningful reductions in drug supply and use have remained elusive, and the fiscal and human
costs of the “War on Drugs” have been immense.
In recent years, policymakers have begun to take note of research demonstrating
that, for many offenders, community-based sanctions, including substance
abuse treatment, are more effective at reducing recidivism than incarceration.
Public attitudes, too, have shifted and now overwhelmingly support treatment
and prevention efforts over punitive sanctioning policies.
From 2009 through 2013, more than 30 states passed nearly 50 bills reforming
how their criminal justice systems define and enforce drug offenses. In reviewing
this legislative activity, Vera’s Center on Sentencing and Corrections found that
most efforts have focused on making change in one or a combination of the
following five areas:
Repealing or limiting mandatory penalties
Modifying drug sentencing schemes
Expanding access to early release mechanisms
Expanding or strengthening community-based sanctions
Ameliorating collateral consequences