Is San Francisco Going Easy on Drug Offenders?

Article Provided by Elon Berk

A new law passed by Senator Mark Leno, a Democrat from San Francisco, promises to ease the overcrowding of state prisons. He argues it saves $2 billion a year for the next ten years, but there’s a hidden cost. Drug dealers and those possessing narcotics like cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines would be released. So, is the tradeoff worth it?

Leno says that there’s no evidence to suggest these prisoners will be deterred from drug use whether or not they face longer sentences. It’s true that these sentences are wasted on addicts. Longer sentences just create an overwhelming desire for use.

The prisoner is no longer rational about his addiction, and is not thinking about how his or her actions wronged society. There is only the need to get the drug. This person will learn to lie, cheat, and steal, even from within prison.

That addict needs treatment, not long term sentencing.

The argument goes that longer sentences deter kids, but does that really work? Not every child responds to punishment, even when that punishment seems harsh or carries long term effects. And kids have strong wills. If they want something, they will find a way to get it. Should adults be content with prison as the fate of these addicts?

Or should we educate these kids on the dangers of drugs, and help them understand their horrors. Addiction is a disease, not a problem that needs to be punished. Treating these addicts humanely, and preparing them to face their own realities, will be a much better use of state and county money.

Elon Berk is a Criminal Defense Attorney and managing partner at “Gurovich, Berk & Associates.”, and is also also the co-founder of the secure communication app for the iPhone: Enkrypt,.