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Lecture 12

Drugs & Society Lecture 12 Notes (3.14.14)

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Northeastern University
SOCL 1295
Lisa Ferruccio

Lecture 12 1/15/14 11:48 AM The House I Live In: Movie about the War on Drugs Mike Carpenter, the Oklahoma prison guard, a self-proclaimed “law-and- order guy” draws connections between our national prison infrastructure that supports entire towns and needs a never-ending supply of prisoners to keep it going and a punitive system of laws that target non-violent, lower-class offenders. What are some other contradictions? • Cops are facing more moral dilemmas on the arrests they are making, but they also keep doing it and make jokes. For example, the judge who admitted his sentences are unjust, but then continues working in that job • Politicians run on a drug platform but drug offenders can’t vote • Nixon’s rehab programs had 2/3 of treatment going to treatment, and 1/3 going to punitive measures. • Cops are rewarded financially and socially for making the most non- violent drug arrests, and this encourages them to make maximum arrests. Cops who solve murder cases only get 1 arrest from that, so they make less money • Crime rate is decreasing but incarceration is skyrocketing • African-Americans make up 13% of society and drug users, but over 90% of inmates for drugs are black • Police search and civil seizure—cops can take all your possessions when they pull you over (car, money). This money goes to support the police department • A lot of these contradictions are rational choices for the employees in a capitalist system (cops and judges benefit) • Judges were allowed to determine on a case to case basis whether power cocaine and crack should be an equal sentence, but the mandatory minimums do not allow the sentences to be decreased.
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