- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Temple University Press; 1st edition (May 1, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1566398606
- ISBN-13: 978-1566398602
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 46 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,265,076 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed and What We Can Do About It: A Judicial Indictment of the War on Drugs 1st Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
As provocative and topical as the film Traffic, here's a scathing jeremiad against the war on drugs, notable both for the author's position and for the sustained anger of its argument. Following his career as a federal prosecutor and a trial judge, Gray, now a California Superior Court justice, is struck by the revelation that the so-called war on drugs was "wasting unimaginable amounts of our tax dollars, increasing crime and despair and severely and unnecessarily harming people's lives... the worst of all worlds." He effectively documents a growing coalition of often conservative lawyers, legislators and justices who view the drug war's impotent dream of national abstinence as folly and its shadow effects (from imprisonment of nonviolent offenders to diversion of law enforcement resources) as dangers to liberty. Gray writes with the courage of his convictions, bluntly addressing the most controversial elements of the drug war. For example, he asserts that politicians offer slavish loyalty to the drug war because it is "fundable," not because it is winnable. Similarly, Gray details how drug prosecutions have both whittled away at constitutional protections and corrupted many police agencies. He even takes the radical step of humanizing drug users. Without assuming a libertarian stance, he establishes that the risks to an individual who is determined to use drugs are dwarfed by the harm caused to the community by overaggressive policing and the criminal economy. Gray's crisp prose is mercifully short on legalese, and his book has the structural clarity of an accessible legal text. This quality, and the sensible passion of Gray's conclusions, will make this a crucial reference for those politicians, voters, activists and law enforcement agencies seeking to reform established policy.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
"As provocative and topical as the film Traffic, here's a scathing jeremiad against the war on drugs, notable both for the author's position and for the sustained anger of its argument." -Publishers Weekly (starred review) "Judge Gray's thorough and scholarly work, based as it is on his personal experience, should help considerably to improve our impossible drug laws. [His] book drives a stake through the heart of the failed War on Drugs and gives us options to hope for in the battles to come" -Walter Cronkite "James P. Gray, a California Superior Court judge and a former Republican congressional candidate, has written perhaps the most convincing indictment ever that the war on drugs can never be won. ...Gray's careful, sobering book provides grounds for taking a fresh look at our national drug policies." -Philadelphia Inquirer "...an impassioned plea to reconsider the War on Drugs before it does more harm to our society and our legal system." -Charles K. Bultman, California Lawyer " Gray, a trial judge in the Superior Court in Orange County California, called a press conference on April 8, 1992 to announce that, 'our country's attempt through the criminal justice system to combat drug use and abuse, and all of the crime and misery that accompany them, were not working.' His book provides a comprehensive defense of that indictment..." -Law & Politics Book Review "Against the backdrop of this 'worst of all worlds,' Judge Gray offers up and evaluates a variety of options, ranging from education and drug treatment to different strategies for taking the profit out of drug-dealing." -Books-on-Law "No aspect of the drug war is ignored, no argument in favor of handling drugs through the legal system is spared attention, and few drug warriors emerge unscathed." -Liberty, December 2002 "...an interesting, well-written, and lively account of the costs of drug prohibition." -The Independent Review
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Top customer reviews
Author of "A Painful Truth - The Entrapment of America's Sick"
James Gray offers a book that is based on both experience and fact. He uses what he has learned as a judge to confirm what I have suspected all along. He offers an even handed set of solutions to correct the horribly managed and violent US drug policies. Unfortunately, his voice may never be heard because there are way too many non-drug users in the USA who are benefiting personally from the current policies and state of affairs.
The "War on Drugs" is causing the harms it intends to eliminate. The analysis in this book demonstrates that fact. Drug prohibition brings higher prices and harder drugs. This make illegal drugs more potent and more available to minors. For every dealer arrested there is a line of folks waiting to take that dealer's place. We cannot arrest all the dealers! Legalizing and regulating all drugs like we do with alcohol and tobacco would go a long way to diminish the profits supporting the illegal drug business. The government does not condone alcohol and tobacco, but it does tax and regulate them. Ironically, drug cartels and big government drug enforcement bureaus stand to lose the most money from the legalization and regulation of drugs. If we want better communities with less violent crime and less burglaries, then we need a new approach that allows taxation, regulation, education, and rehabilitation. Imprisoning a non-violent drug addict who has not harmed or endangered anyone but himself is difficult to morally justify - not to mention expensive, non-productive, and potentially counter-productive. This book makes it obvious that our drug laws produce horrible outcomes while giving drug pushers profitable careers.
The author presents overwhelming reserach and numerious concete examples of what is not working and why. As well, additional profound comments from other Judges through-out the country, on the failure of the Drug War, are included. He recommends rational, common sense solutions, which are supported by decades of research derrived from successful pilot programs in the US, as well as foreign countries, which have had continued success treating drug issues as health problems, which they are, rather than criminal problems.
Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed: A Judicial Indictment Of War On Drugs: Judge Gray's work is a "must read" for anyone interested in this pressing issue that will dominate our national politics for the next decade. A new, updated version is being released in late 2011, or early 2012.