Author: Michele I. Naples
Decriminalizing drugs means ending the Drug War against users, and permits reallocating its resources to public health and community restoration. While Oregon recently passed decriminalization, New Jersey has taken a piecemeal approach for twenty-five years. This study assesses that history, the shape of the prison-industrial complex born of the Drug War, and the prospective savings as decriminalization permits the state to downsize the police, the courts, public defenders and prosecutors, the carceral system (jails, prisons, parole, probation), and to avoid some health crisis-intervention. The study finds that of the more than 1 billion dollars in anticipated savings, over half is from police, one-fifth is from incarceration, and one-fifth is from health casualties averted.