[Sorry everything is so late this morning. I had one of those “But I don’t wanna go to school” experiences with myself.]
First, read this:
Illinois ranks second in the number of individuals incarcerated for drug offenses, a new report finds.
The study, conducted by Roosevelt Universityâ€™s Institute for Metropolitan Affairs, shows that the state locked up nearly 13,000 drug offenders in 2002. Only California â€” which put away 40,000 â€” posted higher numbers.
Drug offenders represent the fastest-growing segment of the Illinois prison population, according to the report. In 1983, 1.9 percent of prisoners statewide were convicted of drug possession. By 2002, that number had swelled to 20.4 percent.
An analysis of the U.S. Department of Justice data also shows a large disparity in the incarceration of black and white drug offenders. Illinois ranks second only to Maryland in the number of blacks imprisoned on drug convictions.
When looked at on a per-capita basis, the state ranks first, followed by Maryland, second; Mississippi, third; and Ohio, fourth. […]
Illinois taxpayers spent more than $280 million to incarcerate drug offenders in 2002, the most recent year for which the U.S. Department of Justice statistics are available.
Now, the question: What, if anything, should be changed in Illinois drug laws? Also, should the governor step in and commute the sentences for non-violent drug offenders incarcerated for relatively small amounts?
UPDATE: The Tribune story fills in at least one item that commenters are questioning.
In the 1980s and 1990s, Illinois locked up more people for selling drugs than for possessing them. But by 2002, the reverse was true […]
[Year] Sale / Possession
1983 264 180
1993 4,336 1,976
2002 5,761 6,999