WDRB reports that Kentucky Senator Rand Paul believes that it’s time to scale back the Drug War.
Paul took his campaign for criminal justice reform to Louisville’s New Legacy center, a residential program that offers addiction recovery and job training services to ex-felons in order to re-integrate them into society and keep them out of prison.
Paul described the current criminal justice system as “unfair” as he fielded several questions from criminal justice reform activists.
The Kentucky Senator sustained that “there’s a racial disparity in who’s in prison” and pointed out that it “doesn’t stack up to who’s committing the offenses.”
The First Step Act, which passed last year, was one of the first substantial criminal justice reform measures moved forward in Congress. Senator Paul supported this measure, which reduced mandatory sentences for certain non-violent drug offenses.
However, Paul made it clear that this law was just the beginning, as its title suggests.
Paul declared that “I don’t think it has even gone nearly far enough.”
Despite advocating for the eventual phase out of the Drug War, Paul reiterated that he does not support drug use.
Instead, Paul wants to make current policy “more about rehabilitation, more about getting back into the workforce, and less about we’re just going to put them in jail, and throw away the key.”
The Kentucky Senator wants to see more federal funding go towards programs like New Legacy. But as a seasoned fiscal conservative, Paul knows that other areas of spending must also be cut.
For him, a good place to start would be with the Afghan war effort.
Paul highlighted how “We spend $50 billion a year in Afghanistan on a war that’s 19 years old, and there’s not one general left who says that there is a military mission left there.”
The Drug War appears to be on its way out, and Republicans like Rand Paul recognize this trend.
In its multiple decades of existence, the Drug Was has led to mass incarceration, civil liberties abuses, and no noticeable reduction is drug usage.
Ideally, rehabilitation programs should either be handled at the state or local level. Or better yet, they should be privatized.
Nevertheless, it’s a good sign when liberty conservatives like Rand Paul recognize that drug addiction is an issue best solved by civil society, not heavy-handed government laws.