According to the most recent data from the Federal Bureau of Prisons, just over half of inmates in federal prisons are incarcerated for drug offenses. This would be comical if it weren’t so tragic. To be sure, drugs can harm your health, and an addict’s need for a substance can make her a danger to herself or those around her. Yet it is a mystery why anyone would think the existing system of probation and imprisonment for drug offenses would help addicts break their bad habits. What we’re doing obviously isn’t working. The good news is that states and local governments are now hesitating to enforce the laws against possession, specifically of marijuana. Cops just seem less interested in making arrests as some jurisdictions formally legalize or decriminalize the drug. The proportion of inmates in state prisons for drug offenses recently fell to 16.6 percent, though it has long been much lower than the current federal statistic of 50.1 percent.
Click below for further discussion of the exceptionally large U.S. prison population.