1% of America's adult population is in prison

God damnit.

Don’t you think this is a hint that we need to stop putting fucking potheads in jail? Doesn’t it strike you a bit odd that 1% of the population is so dangerous that they need to be physically separated from society?

Jesus Haploid Christ. This pisses me off to no end.

But… but… the CHILDREN!!!

The land of the free.

That includes the 723,000 people who are in local jails. I wonder if that number is the average or whether they meant there was 723,000 on a particular day or month.

What percentage of the prison population is made up of pot heads who are there for non violent crimes or theft?

Well, let’s not equate toking up or possession of personal quantities of marijuana with theft. If someone is capable of stealing, they don’t lose that capability, and theft is not a victimless crime. Those people deserve some sort of punishment, if only short-term incarceration for the first offense so they get a taste of what they stand to lose. Perhaps that will dissuade the small-timers. Habitual thieves should be put away for progressively longer periods proportional to the number of offenses.

While I agree with people who say that pot is harmless, and that it’s a waste of money to imprison pot smokers, I have no sympathy for people who are actually imprisoned for pot-related crimes.

It’s fucking illegal. You don’t want to go to jail, don’t do it. Smoking pot is not a requirement for living. It’s, I don’t know, a hobby or something. You’re the dumbass who chose an illegal hobby, you can face the consequences.

You’re making a regular, conscious decision to break the law, and you deserve whatever punishment comes out of that.

Sweet. I was always wondering what the H stood for.

Really? You have no sympathy for people who are incarcerated for not harming anyone? Let’s pretend that pianos are banned–would you feel equally as heartless towards people who just want to play music?

I am sure that it varies greatly from state to state but for the most part people do not go to prison for smoking pot. Mostly it is a fine. For multiple repeat offenders maybe they might get a few days in county jail. Not prison. Not long term. Most drug offenders in prison are there because they are dealers.

How do you feel about laws making sodomy illegal?

To cease the slightjack (mine! 'cause no one else wants it…) you have to figure something is wrong when a ‘free’ country leads the world in imprisoning its own citizens.

Let the people who sell marijuana out, too. They’re not hurting anyone.

Yes, I would. No one needs to play the piano. It might be a stupid law, but if you willingly choose to break it, I won’t feel sorry for you if you get put in jail. Fight to get the law changed, but don’t expect to break it and not suffer the consequences.

I don’t know what the penalties are, but I feel the same way. Fight to get the law changed, but until then, you are responsible for your actions and deserve whatever punishment the law provides for.

Approximately 30% of those in prison for drug crimes (which is about 25% of the total inmate population) are there for possession only, according to the DOJ’s 2004 statistics.

What’s the breakdown? What percentage is there for pot-smoking or possession of a small amount? I’ve heard there are big penalties for it but I admit my ignorance on the number of people who are there for recreational MJ.

One of two things is true. You never make exceptions to this principle, in which case you would have been obligated to do all manner of deeply immoral things in times not long past (report fugitive slaves, say). Or you do make exceptions, you’re just not willing to do so for drug use. I suspect it is the latter, in which case you’ll have to provide more reason than your just your bare principle to support your position.

I make exceptions for things that are essential for life. Smoking pot is not essential for life. Outlawing it is stupid, but so is getting yourself sent to prison because you were bored and couldn’t think of something else to do on a Friday evening.

It turns out to be a very complicated question. What you are really asking is who is in prison for those offenses and only those (e.g. didn’t commit offense while on parole, didn’t plead to those to avoid other charges, and a dozen other scenarios). Since these sorts of things are usually tracked by the charge, not the facts (i.e. possession of a controlled substance, not possession of MJ), there isn’t much in the way of statistics. And what there is tends not to control for the factors I mentioned

Deserve is an awfully strong word. If I work for five hours, I deserve compensation. If I don’t hurt anyone, I deserve to be left the hell alone. If not hurting anyone is against the law, I shouldn’t be surprised when I’m punished. But I still deserve to be left alone.

Those laws haven’t been enforceable for years. See Lawrence v. Texas for more information about that.

Ok, so your principle requires you to make judgments about the content of the law. That’s my point. It isn’t just that it is the law, it’s that you think the law is not wrong in some fundamental-threat-to-liberty way.

I would guess that you actually would get even more fine-grained than that. Presumably you would further distinguish personal autonomy when it comes to drugs from personal autonomy when it comes to, say, reading books. If the government banned books, do you think the people that went to prison for reading would deserve the punishment?

Just to put things into a conservative friendly frame of reference, imprisoning pot smokers confers no long standing benefit to society, and it is really expensive.

Think of the corporate taxes, man!