The National Disgrace Of Marijuana Possession Arrests

marijuana arrestsThe New Inquiry, sociologist Harry Levine explains the terrible mechanics propelling apartheid-style law enforcement in America:

Police arrest mostly young and low-income men for marijuana possession, disproportionately blacks and Latinos. In the last 15 years, police and sheriff ’s departments in every major U.S. city and county have made over 10 million of these possession arrests. Most people arrested were not smoking. They were carrying tiny amounts.

Police make so many because they are relatively safe and easy arrests. All police have arrest quotas and often they can earn overtime pay by making a marijuana arrest toward the end of a shift. The arrests show productivity. Making many low-level arrests of all kinds is very good for training rookie police who gain experience doing many stops and searches of teenagers.

There is also a push nationally, to states, counties, and city police departments, to get as many new people as possible into the criminal databases. There is nothing else police do that gets so many young people without criminal records into the criminal databases.

The effects of the criminal records are far more serious than the often quite nasty experience of getting arrested and searched — including sometimes strip-searched and jailed overnight or longer. Shortly after the person is arrested, police send the criminal records to their state database and then to the FBI, never to be deleted. Expungement is a myth. The arrest records also go to criminal databases in other states, and then to a huge network of commercial databases instantly accessible on the web. Twenty years ago misdemeanor arrest records were papers in the basement of court houses or in storage. Now anyone can go to Google and search for “criminal records.”

All the national chains and big box stores with entry-level jobs search criminal databases in hiring. Landlords even of a few rental units use them. Credit agencies, banks, credit cards all run these criminal background checks. Schools and colleges do as well. Many occupations — security guards, home health care attendants, day care workers, teachers, beauticians — require licenses from the government, often the state government.

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  • Rhoid Rager

    This is obviously self-defeating. It’s done for the purpose of money (whether it be to the arresting officer, PD, courts or privately-owned jails), but what the officials in all of these levels don’t seem to be clueing into is that they are eroding the foundation for their own ponzi scheme. As the arrests mount, the records get tainted and the economic opportunities dwindle for an increasing amount of people, so the economy slows down even further. This and more are symptoms of a desperate elite at the top of a ponzi scheme that is slowly choking on its own waste. The engine will seize up soon enough. Good riddance.

    • Charlie Primero

      Agreed. Read this book “Arrest-Proof Yourself”. Free from: archive . org/details/Arrest-proofYourself

      The author is a former cop and generally a douchebag, but he gives the best description of “The Farm” I have ever seen. Illegal drugs provide a Trillion-dollar make-work program for lawyers, court clerks, bail bondsmen, judges, local governments, prison guards, credit agencies, and cops.

      Imagine a 19 year-old kid begging for overtime at Burger King so he can make his monthly $250 payment to the Probation Department, and his $300 a month payment on the high-interest loan he took out to pay a scumbag attorney $3000 for filing paperwork.

      Multiply that by millions of times a year, and you see the enormity of this immoral grift. It is genuine institutional slavery. It’s sickening. It’s destroying our society. Most Americans enthusiastically support it.

      • theskeptic2

        We all know that someday, soon, this prohibition will end.

        I spent 5 years in Federal Prison for a marijuana offense.

        The memorable day that I met with the parole panel, I asked, “When pot becomes legal, what will my 5 years spent in prison have meant?”

        Their response, “That is a very philosophical question. We don’t deal with philosophy in this office.”

        Case closed…go back to your cell.

        When the 5 years were gone, I walked out and never looked back. But, I know to this day, there are thousands of Americans still rotting in jail over a plant.

        I wrote about the escapades that led to my imprisonment.

        Shoulda Robbed a Bank

        I would be honored by your review. Available at Amazon.

        • Charlie Primero

          “We don’t deal with philosophy in this office.” Jaysus. Condolences man.

      • Calypso_1

        It’s even more sickening when you see people who have convictions in multiple jurisdictions who’s lives are spent shuttling back and forth between courtrooms, sitting around waiting for their docket & going for drug tests. Now they are actually having to pass state laws for maximum allowed monthly time in a court because people can’t even hold down jobs because of the face time the system requires

  • salviad

    Very nice read, thanks for the link.

  • BuzzCoastin

    taboos and moralities of various degrees always have existed
    some for good reason
    and some just are and no one really knows why

    but in the case of Der Homeland
    cops & robbers is a major industry
    (cops, cops, cops, cops, robber industries, courts, lawyers, bail bonds, prison inc, services industries, uniform industry, slave labor for the MIBC)
    so all these taboos are religious in nature
    and a convenient cover for the profitable industrialization of vice
    disguised as public service