Friday, October 05, 2007

San Francisco Mayor Makes Sense

(CBS 5 / KCBS) SAN FRANCISCO San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom proclaimed the nation's war on drugs a total failure and insisted the crime rate would go down if the government spent money on treatment as opposed to jailing people with drug problems."If you want to get serious, if you want to reduce crime by 70% in this country overnight, end this war on drugs," he told reporters at City Hall on Thursday. "You want to get serious, seriously serious about crime and violence end this war on drugs."The mayor maintained local jails are overcrowded with people incarcerated for drug offenses, taking up room that could be used to hold more violent criminal offenders. He said violent criminals with lengthy felony records are being turned loose, too often.

San Francisco Sheriff Mike Hennessey, who has run the county jail for 28 years, told CBS 5 that 60 to 75 percent of the 2,000 inmates currently held are there for drug crimes or have underlying substance abuse problems.He also agreed with Newsom."No, the war on drugs is not working. The war on drugs is not working because we are relying on law enforcement instead of on treatment," Hennessey said.In a ten-minute tirade about the drug war's failure, Newsom told reporters that most politicians - including those in his own party - just don't have the guts to admit the obvious."It's laughable that anyone could look at themselves with a straight face and say 'oh,we're really succeeding.' I mean it's comedy. And as I say, shame on my party, the democratic party, because they don't have the courage of their private thoughts, because we don't want to appear weak on this topic," Newsom said.


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