Please activate JavaScript!
Please install Adobe Flash Player, click here for download


5|A SENTENCE APART | Discussion Guide | CREATING CONTEXT NON VIOLENT DRUG OFFENDERS & THE “WAR ON DRUGS” EDUCATION LEVEL: Men and women behind bars tend to be less educated; the average state prisoner has a 10th grade education, and about 70 percent have not completed high school[1] . The “War on Drugs” refers to the United States Government’s set of policies that are intended to discourage the production, distribution, and consumption of illegal drugs. The policies include mandatory minimum sentencing and an approach that favors incarceration over rehabilitation and substance- abuse counseling. A majority of the men and women behind bars for drug- related offenses are not high-level actors in the drug trade, and most have no prior criminal record for a violent offense. These policies have been met with criticism and In June 2011, the Global Commission on Drug Policy released a critical report on the “War on Drugs”, declaring “The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world”[1] . Nonviolent drug offenders make up approximately one-fourth of all inmates in the UnitedStates.AccordingtotheCenterofEconomic Policy Research, only 8.5 percent of federal prison inmates have committed violent offenses, meaning that 91.5 percent of federal inmates committed non-violent crimes. 61.8 percent of all inmates (including jail, state prison, and federal prison) committed non-violent crimes. More than 60% of those behind bars are people of color disproportionately impacted by the “War on Drugs.” RECIDIVISM & REENTRY Recidivism is a term used to describe the rearrest, reconviction, or return to prison during a three-year period following a prisoner’s release. Statistically, nearly half of prisoners will be re-arrested within their first year back from prison, and the greatest amount of re-arrests occurs within their first three to six months after release. Studies show that ex-offenders face tremendous barriers to employment including lack of competitive skills in the job market, automatic disqualification from certain jobs, as well as the negative stigma faced by employers [3] . REFERENCES 2. Report of the Global Commission on Drug Policy 2011, 3. Project Return, The Employment of Ex-Offenders is Important to Everyone, “The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world.” [1] “ Photographs in the childhood room of Natasha Williams. Still from A Sentence Apart