School Free Drug Zones?
I was having dinner recently with a small group of attorneys and the conversation turned to the topic of "drug free school zone" laws. These laws which have recently come into favor with politicians require enhanced penaties, i.e. double the prison time, for the possession and distribution of drugs in a school zone. Theorhetically, these laws are meant to "PROTECT THE CHILDREN!" In reality though, the so called "drug free school zones" are concentrated in the urban areas of the state which are predominintly populated by minorities. Therefore, the "drug free school zone" laws are disproportionetly applied to minorities who are likely not selling drugs to any kids. A former prosector explained to the assembled dinner party that to understand how the drug free school zones actually worked in one urban city you had to look at a map. If you drew a circle around every school on the map to show the "drug free school zones," all the circles would overlap to cover the whole city. EXCEPT, one small area a few blocks in size. The former prosecutor said this area is widely known in the city as the "school free drug zone." It's a big joke. The city should really post signs so all the drug dealers know where to go. The "drug free school zone" laws were basically passed so politicians could appear tough on crime and look like they are protecting kids. Emphasis on "look." When half the state is a drug free school zone, the State isn't targeting particularly aggriegious drug offenders, it's targeting your garden variety drug offender. Now, don't get me wrong, I have no love for drug dealers. You want to lock them away forever, please be my guest -- until it costs me money. I just don't want to pay to incarcerate, I mean send to "college," every idiot drug dealer in the state twice as long so a policitician can look good. Hey, the State has a huge -- four billion dollars huge -- budget shortfall this year. Maybe the State could repeal the "drug free school zone" laws and legalize the sale of marijuana so the stoners could share some of the tax burden. I'd support that if it saved me a couple dollars. Somehow, I don't think that's gonna happen any time soon though.