Comments on: America’s police — the third rail http://blogs.reuters.com/muniland/2014/04/03/americas-police-the-third-rail/ Bridges, budgets, bonds Mon, 24 Nov 2014 00:29:08 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.5 By: Cate_Long http://blogs.reuters.com/muniland/2014/04/03/americas-police-the-third-rail/comment-page-1/#comment-2498 Mon, 19 May 2014 02:28:00 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/muniland/?p=13650#comment-2498 Spring means budget season for local governments across the United States, and Steve Novick, a city commissioner in Portland, Oregon, has a proposal he thinks could save his city a nice chunk of change: slashing funding for the Portland Police Bureau’s Drugs and Vice Division. The division, which largely targets drug dealers, costs $3.9 million annually to operate, and Novick’s idea is to redirect a substantial portion of that budget to improving dangerous intersections where pedestrians are killed each year, as well as to better preparing the city for disasters—particularly the big earthquake that could strike Portland any day now.

“I noticed that we’re spending about $4 million a year on the drugs and vice unit,” says Novick. “And there seems to be a lot of evidence that pursuing drug dealers is kind of a losing battle, because you arrest one and another pops up.”

http://www.citylab.com/crime/2014/05/wha t-if-us-cities-just-stopped-participatin g-in-the-war-on-drugs/370878/

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By: Cate_Long http://blogs.reuters.com/muniland/2014/04/03/americas-police-the-third-rail/comment-page-1/#comment-2456 Fri, 04 Apr 2014 00:39:39 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/muniland/?p=13650#comment-2456 Thanks for pointing that out CraigL. I should get in touch with the Justice Policy Institute and feed that back to them.

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By: nixonfan http://blogs.reuters.com/muniland/2014/04/03/americas-police-the-third-rail/comment-page-1/#comment-2455 Thu, 03 Apr 2014 19:55:00 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/muniland/?p=13650#comment-2455 The biggest supporters of drug laws are the police and prison guard unions. We imprison black people as a jobs program.

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By: CraigL http://blogs.reuters.com/muniland/2014/04/03/americas-police-the-third-rail/comment-page-1/#comment-2454 Thu, 03 Apr 2014 19:25:44 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/muniland/?p=13650#comment-2454 > As spending on police increased 445%, the number of people in prisons and jails increased 275% from 1982 to 2007.

The spending in the chart does not seem to be adjusted for inflation, which in the same period was about cumulative 115%. For the sake of example, let’s assume that the spending in 1982 was about $19B. This means that in 2007, it was about $104B. But that $104B was equivalent to only $48B in 1982 dollars, which is a 153% increase. So, the rate of incarceration per *real* dollar spent actually increased by about 80% (275/153 – 1).

We can debate whether a high incarceration rate for drug-related offenses is right or wrong, but first you need to present correct inflation-adjusted data.

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