Archived Story

We should look at high cost of drugs

Published 12:01am Friday, August 2, 2013

If you reside in Mississippi or Louisiana, chances are approximately 8 out of 1,000 that you are incarcerated.

Both states top the list of most imprisoned residents per capita based on a study released recently by the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Louisiana has the most incarcerated residents per capita of any other state in the country with Mississippi ranking No. 2.

At first glance the numbers might seem like something of a black eye on the two states, but for the 992 out of every 1,000 residents who are not locked up, we suspect the title carries with it a slight bit of pride.

Residents often joke about locking up criminals and throwing away the key.

For violent offenders, that’s certainly the case.

Fortunately, most of our criminals are not ones who create random acts of violence. A great number of the people incarcerated are booked on drug-related crimes.

Make no bones about it, drug crimes are still illegal. However, at some point, society has to start considering the high cost of continuing to hunt down, arrest, prosecute and lock up drug users and dealers.

It’s a violent and often cyclical process with offenders getting out, committing the same crimes and then returning into the system again.

One has to wonder sometimes, would decriminalizing some drugs stop the cycle? The alternative may be continuing to invest in more and more prison beds.