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A Holiday Message for our Leaders

By James P. Calhoun, Prisoner of the Drug War

Cage the meekest of animals for years on end. Deny them kindness. Taunt and abuse them at every opportunity. Treat them as vicious animals unworthy of all, but abuse and harshness. An angry and vicious animal will surely develop.

The passive person who spends ten years at the whim of those with unlimited authority, will not be passive when his time is up. More than likely, he will return to society, an aggressive, hate-filled person.

Almost 1 million persons are now in U.S. prisons for drug crimes. Most are nonviolent and many are first-time offenders. The sheer enormity of that number, coupled with prison growth rates, raises hugely important issues worthy of consideration by Americans and our "tough on crime" political representatives.

Our leaders and their desire to inflict punishment on nonviolent drug offenders are setting the stage for later disaster. It is safe to say that "meanness" will beget "meanness."

We are going into a New Year and we urge our leaders to make it a new era as well. Our government is well aware that the present drug policies are not working­­even General McCaffrey has said that we cannot incarcerate ourselves out of the drug problem in America.

American politicians must stop talking of a "war" on drugs; for a war upon people is a war no one can win. The result of more than three decades of this unwinnable war has brought only hostility, division and death. We must shift to an agenda of peace and seek terms for a lasting reconciliation and our intent should be a safer America­­and a safer world­­not one that is simply less free.

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