The United States fell on its face in its war on drugs because it let an animalistic reaction to fear take over policymaking. It abandoned facts and science. Though Newtown has traumatized us all, we should think through the consequences of proposals before acting. Gun laws passed today to stop tomorrow’s suburban school shooter may well end up incarcerating more generations of young inner-city black men.
From Biden to Barbara Boxer, Democrats are yet again leading the way toward more mass incarceration by falling back on tried-and-failed policies. Some have resurrected the War on Drugs’ cries for “mandatory minimums.” Yet research shows longer prison sentences increase unjust racial disparities while doing little to reduce crime or violence.