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War on Drugs

N.J. Governor Christie Calls War on Drugs a Well Intentioned Failure

posted 03:06 AM EST, Wed July 11, 2012
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New Jersey Governor Chris Christie calls the drug war a failure and uses a pro-life argument to call for treatment instead of jail.

In a speech given Monday at The Brookings Institution, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie slammed the war on drugs – calling it a well intentioned failure – and praised recent New Jersey legislation that imposes a year of mandatory treatment on first time non violent drug offenders as an alternative to jail time.

Calling for a wider change from current law and order based drug policy, Christie argued that not only does incarceration not deter drug use, it also costs taxpayers more than more effective alternatives like addiction treatment, saying, "It costs us $49,000 a year to warehouse a prisoner in New Jersey state prisons last year. A full year of inpatient drug treatment costs $24,000 a year."

And bringing kindness into the discussion, Christie called compassionate programs that divert addicted offenders to treatment instead of prison congruent with pro-life morality, saying, "If you're pro-life, as I am, you can't be pro-life just in the womb. Every life is precious and every one of God's creatures can be redeemed, but they won't if we ignore them."

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Story Highlights
  • Incarceration Is Expensive: Christie says it costs the state almost twice as much to 'warehouse' a drug offender in prison for a year as it does to provide a full year of inpatient addiction treatment
  • Pro-Life: Christie argues that providing addiction treatment to people in need is congruent with pro-life philosophy
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