In 1989, Florida's Miami-Dade County set up the first drug court in the United States. There are now around 3,000 operating across the U.S. -- 141 in New York alone -- that deal with an estimated 120,000 people annually.
A New York Police Department officer who was videotaped stomping on the head of a man who had already been placed in handcuffs was sentenced on June 23 for his misdemeanor conviction of assault. The man was found guilty of the assault two months ago. The case had originally made headlines in 2014.
The inspiration for our blog post today comes from an article from the website Motherboard. It details the thorny issue of drug dealing and using ride-sharing services, such as Uber. Uber is valued at $62 billion and is operating in over 200 U.S. cities. There are other competing ride-sharing companies as well. The "Uberization" of the world is well under way, if it hasn't happened already.
Drug classifications allow the criminal justice system to simply and easily punish people who have been accused of a drug crime by labeling certain drugs and substances based on their perceived "severity." How easily a drug may be abused and how much harm it does to an individual are apparent cornerstones of how these "schedules" came to be.
Even though the perception of drug crimes and the "War on Drugs" is changing around the United States, it takes time for that change to really manifest itself. Drug crimes are still taken very seriously by the criminal justice system, and that often means that people suffer penalties and jail sentences that are unduly harsh and excessive, given their offense.