Fedral prisons hold more then 90,000 drug offenders most of them low level dealers. Many of them with addictions. And more then half of them, 51,000 , are on a very, very long waiting list for treatment. And of course- besides all the rules and hoops to jump through as to whois “elgible”, prisoners are never elgible for the (only) treatment program until the final couple yeaars of their sentence.
Which of course means tens of thousands of inmates are denied any treatment for the condition which, more often then not, played a major role in their being incarcerated in the first place. Which of course results in tens of thousands of them continuing to use drugs within the prison walls. The corruption of prison staff. Deals and alliances being made to procure drugs that has a real world impact on those outside of the prison walls.
And of course- if we as a society chose to spend even a fraction of the money we spend on the drug war, on enforcement, on courts, on incarceration. On victims families. On polcicing of the urban blight and crime that can result from unchecked addicition, on aid to families and childrens torn apart by addiction…if spent instead on harm reduction and treatment. Honest education. If we dealt fairly and honestly with the most disadvantaged portions of our society we would not have these tens of thousands waiting for treatment. We not have these tens of thousands warehoused in prisons. We would not see portions of our societies, and of our cities turning to an alternative society- gangs, because they have few, if any other real options.
I was going to use the line attributed to Ghandi, something along the lines of “you can judge a society by how it treats it’s most disadvantaged members.” But maybe I’ll go farther back instead- to quote the bible, and the supposed words of jesus “That which you do to the least of my brothers that you do unto me”. (it’s a line that’s always made me kind of hoe god/jesus are real- I can just picture all the authoritarians meeting their maker and going “oh **** ”