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Poll: Does the punishment fit the crime?

Should those convicted of non-violent drug-related crimes get special attention from the legal system?

View Results

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Share your thoughts in the comments below.



  • Carla Wheit

    Depends on the special attention the legal system is going to give them. 

  • Spike

    It makes absolutely no sense to be building more prisons to house non violent prisoners, there has to be a better way. I think the plan being worked on in Taxes should be given a lot of study…

  • Forrest Swall


    is an amazing story!  In the 1970′s a Kansas citizens committee, “the
    Committee on Penal Reform,” created to honor Dr. Karl Menninger for his
    book THE CRIME OF PUNISHMENT, made a study of the Kansas prison and corrections
    system.  Then the prison population was under 2,000 men and possibly a
    couple hundred women.


    overwhelming recommendation coming out of the study was “reduce the
    commitments of non-dangerous less serious felony offenders.  The work of
    the committee put them in contact with the Correction authorities in MN, the
    first state to adopt a progressive “Community Corrections” policy
    doing just what is described in the Texas story: create and use community


    was a member of the faculty of the University of KS School of Social Welfare
    and an active member of the Committee on Penal Reform.  The result of our
    work was to achieve a community corrections policy patterned after MN.  To
    implement the policy the newly elected Governor of KS, John Carlin, brought the
    key staff member, Pat McManus, from MN to become the Secretary of Corrections.


    to the KS policy was a funding program to jurisdictions implementing the community
    corrections principles.  It was a carrot and a stick policy.  If the
    court sent a non-dangerous, low-level offender to prison the county lost $XX of
    their funds.  In time the counties buying into the program began lobbying
    to remove the penalty and the program essentially reverted to little more than
    an expanded probation program.


    the increasing political sentiment of “get tough on crime” the
    program lost its effect and KS now has 10,000 in the state prison system and
    the legislative “memory” has all but disappeared.


    citizen group, which was remarkably successful in gaining attention for their
    work, failed to achieve a permanent status with funding and staff and gradually
    lost its thrust.  As a member of the University faculty my responsibilities
    took me away from the ongoing work.

    During those years, the decade of the seventies, we had the encouragement of Milton Rector, Ex. Dir. of the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.  What we didn’t have was a funding base to support a continued effort. 

    Now, in my early 80s and retired, I continue to follow some of the developments.  Seeing and hearing the program was truly satisfying making me want to get back into the fray!

  • RustyIconiclast

    There should be no criminal statues for no-violent drug use.  Drugs should be sold and taxed just like alcohol, asprin or toilet paper.  Criminalizing activities for fun and profit leads to destruction of society to the benefit of the wealthy and creation of a police state.  Not a bargain in my book. 

  • RustyIconiclast

    There should be no criminal statues for no-violent drug use.  Drugs should be sold and taxed just like alcohol, asprin or toilet paper.  Criminalizing activities for fun and profit leads to destruction of society to the benefit of the wealthy and creation of a police state.  Not a bargain in my book. 

  • ErnieK

    people who commit nonviolent drug-related “crimes” that cause create no harm (or immediate risk of harm) to others should receive NO attention from the legal system, and should be left alone.

  • Forrest Swall

    The question, as stated, “Should those convicted of non-violent drug-related crimes get special attention from the legal system?”
    begins with a “conviction.”  This narrows/limits some of the more thoughtful possibilities.  First in many, if not most, situations there should not be a conviction.  The questionas posed keeps excessive, or illegal, drug possession and use in the criminal justice system.

    We need to approach the “problem” of drug possession and distribution as a public health issue.  First as others have noted most of our drug issues should be decriminalized, just as was alcohol with the repeal of prohibition.  

    Excessive use of alcohol is a health issue.  Illegal possession has been eliminated, as drugs could be.  Then sales and possession could be regulated, products taxed and the personal problems associated with the use could be managed.

    For now it is a no-win situation for the criminal justice system, victims and perpetrators and society.  We all lose and it is a costly loss both in dollars and human life.

  • BLH


  • FrankS

    Drugs should be legalized, and all the money being wasted on drug criminalization should be going into treatment & education.  The “War on Drugs” has been a disaster both for this country and for all those countries we have forced it on.

  • Lionhawk2

    how do I vote on this one, I feel that drugs should be legalize, drug use is a health problem not a criminal offense. If a person commits a crime while on drugs, then that person should be held accountable just like if a person commits a crime while on alcohol, otherwise, they should be left alone with there family, friend and doctors to decide what is the best action if any to get off the drugs. leave the criminal justice system out of this decision making process. They have enough to do already trying to keep us safe from the real criminals.

  • Lionahwk2

    p.s. I decided not to vote on this one, because I do not agree with ether yes or no. besides drugs being a public health issue, it is also a civil rights issue. the poll should have a 3rd choice like “decimalize drugs and get it out of the criminal justice system”

  • Marilyn

    Unnecessarily harsh sentencing such as three-strikes laws that send people to prison for 25 to life for stealing a pizza and some states, especially California, refusing to parole “lifers” who are not, or no longer are dangerous and are suitable for parole, is bankrupting us and wasting salvageable lives.

    Of course, marijuana should be decriminalized..  Let’s offer treatment, not incarceration.  Sending people to prison is ruining lives and families more than the actual use of marijuana.

  • Funandgames32

    My answer is yes because the influence to use and disregard the law is so fierce and once these individuals can vouch for themselves, admit they’ve made a mistake and aim now to be responsible and no longer involve themselves in such activitys, give ‘em a break and should they follow through, they deserve a chance.

  • Mass Vocals

    if just busted for getting high there is no damage party under common law  therefore the law is wrong and bust is wrong and is a measure of madness rather then since 

  • Mass Vocals

    what the hell is no violent drug related crime  you mean getting bust for just a drug offense 

  • Concerned citizen

    The fact that drug offenses were treated as special since the 80′s is what put us in this predicament in the first place. What this poll says to me is, should we give positive special treatment to a criminal class we have given negative special treatment sine the “War on Drugs” began. In truth, in a fair justice system there should be NO crime singled out for special treatment. Simply by the act of making something “special” gives the green light to treat some people comparatively unfair by definition, which works contrary to the intent of a fair and just legal system. That means no “special” victims, no mandatory minimum-sentencing via Congressional act, and every case is considered on their own merit. As we politicize crime we will continue to do a disservice to the intent of the legal system. The drug offenders treated “special” since the 1980′s are slowly being given the ability to reasonably rebuild their lives being replaced by the new “special” criminal class, the sex offender. And we continue to learn nothing collectively as a society.

  • Bighrses

    personal use of marijuana shouldn’t be crime , adults should be able to buy it legally grow it legally  have it legally with out worry of breaking the law—sence it was made legal in 1937 over  37 million americans have be arrested for marijuana use and over 1 trillion dollar been spent on arresting putting them in jail and for what? shame on government  shame on companys like dupont@hearst corp. People look up hemp on computer see how the government has lied  to us hemp is more than just for getting high on.

  • Db

    Unbelievable that marijuana is still illegal. All non-violent “offenders” imprisoned for a harmless plant should not only be released, they should be compensated for having their lives destroyed for no justifiable reason.

  • Elginer

    You are punishing consumption; that can’t be legal. If I decide to make a tea out of a weed growing in my back yard, that should be my business and nobody else’s. Marijuana is a mild drug and I know many people that have families, pay taxes and live productive lives and consume it on a regular basis. Just because they choose to consume this particular product for whatever the reasons they have, that doesn’t mean that they are criminals or should be locked away from society. That’s represive and abusive from my point of view!

  • Jnoethtich

    The time given for drug charges is out rageous, flat out!!!! How can you get more time for drugs than you can for murder, or hell, a string of murders at that.