InspireSeattle invites YOU to join us at our Social Forum: Saturday, April 25th at 6:30PM.
Main discussion topic for this evening: Ending the War on Drugs
For four decades the US has fueled its policy of a “war on drugs” with over a trillion tax dollars and increasingly punitive policies. More than 39 million arrests for nonviolent drug offenses have been made. The incarcerated population quadrupled over a 20-year period, making building prisons the nation’s fastest growing industry. More than 2.3 million US citizens are currently in prison or jail, far more per capita than any country in the world. The US has 4.6 percent of the population of the world but 22.5 percent of the world’s prisoners. Each year this war costs the US another 70 billion dollars. Despite all the lives destroyed and all the money so ill spent, today illicit drugs are cheaper, more potent, and much easier to access than they were at the beginning of the war on drugs, 40 years ago. Meanwhile, people continue dying on the streets while drug barons and terrorists continue to grow richer, more powerful, better armed.
Not one of the stated US drug policy goals of lowering the incidence of crime, addiction, drug availability, or juvenile drug use, has been achieved. Instead, our approach has magnified these problems by creating a self-perpetuating, ever-expanding policy of destruction, yet the US still insists on continuing the war and pressuring other governments to perpetuate these same unworkable policies. The drug war wreaks havoc, funds terrorism, and causes major corruption around the globe. This is the very definition of a failed public policy. This madness must cease!
With this in mind, current and former members of law enforcement have created a drug policy reform group called LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition). Supporters of LEAP believe that to save lives and lower the rates of disease, crime and addiction, as well as to conserve tax dollars, we must end drug prohibition. LEAP believes a system of regulation and control is far more effective than one of prohibition.
Please join us for this important discussion!
Guest Speaker: Jim Doherty:
Jim Doherty prosecuted drug users as a chief prosecutor and also helped keep them in jail as a corrections officer. Prior to attending law school, Jim spent a year working as an “alternatives worker” getting criminal defendants into drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs and spent a year as a cell block officer in a large county jail. He later gained experience with the opposite perspective by serving as a public defender. In total, he has been practicing law for over thirty years, including several years as a felony public defender in Oregon, several as a municipal prosecutor for Washington cities, and two years as the Chief Prosecutor in the Attorney General’s office in American Samoa.
Jim describes his criminal legal experience as an exercise in futility when dealing with drug issues. “The legal prohibition of drugs has clogged our courts and jails, and has led to an out-of-control black market that destroys the lives of too many people, both here in America and abroad.”
He is part of the King County Bar Association Drug Policy Project, which was the country’s first county-wide collaboration to look at and work towards alternatives to America’s longest war. He is also a member of the Voluntary Committee of Lawyers. Since 1993, Jim has served as a full time legal consultant with Municipal Research & Services Center, a non-profit organization providing research assistance to cities and counties in the State of Washington.
InspireSeattle is a progressive network of Seattle-area people sharing ideas and supporting action. InspireSeattle’s vision is to create connection throughout our community and better community through activism. InspireSeattle’s mission is to provide a fun, supportive gathering for people who care deeply about our community, our country and our planet. We embrace progressive policies that improve our society and protect our environment. We discuss current issues, share ideas and activism efforts while striving to inspire additional action. Subscribe (or unsubscribe) to InspireSeattle by visiting www.inspireseattle.org/contact.html.
When: April 25th at 6:30PM. Please try to be on time!!!
Where: Toni Merritt’s place, 1334 44th Ave SW, Seattle WA 98116, 773-495-4398.
Directions: Go west over the West Seattle bridge – take the Admiral Way exit – go up hill to California Ave SW – go right (north) on California – go 8 blocks to Atlantic – go left (west) on Atlantic – go right at 44th (first intersection) – first house on right.
It’s a potluck: so please help out and bring something to eat and to drink!
6:30 to 7:45: Social time! Eat, drink, relax, and catch up with some other local progressives
Formal discussion and guest speakers, 7:45 to 9:30
Other Announcements – got any?
Rules of Engagement!
1. So that everyone has a chance to participate, please keep your comments short
2. Raise one’s hand to ask a question in lieu of shouting out
3. Respect the points of views of others
4. No arguing of politics during the formal discussion – save that for afterwards!