Support For The War On Drugs Increased Exponentially Essay

Support For The War On Drugs Increased Exponentially Essay

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Support for the war on drugs increased exponentially. By the time George Bush Sr. was elected President in 1989, a poll showed that 64% of people believed that drugs were the most significant problem in the United States (Alexander 2012). In seven years the public’s opinion of the Country’s drug problem increased 62 points. The government wasn’t the only one using drugs and crime as a device to hide their racist ideals. Researchers found that from the late 1970’s to the early 2000’s, the amount of racial prejudice people possessed was influential on their support of punitive policies (Alexander 2012). One study done in 2014 compared people’s perceptions of inmate population by race and their willingness to sign a petition to end the three-strike-law and the stop-and-frisk, two notoriously punitive laws. Participants who were shown there are more blacks in prison than there actually are only signed the petition to end the three-strike-law 27% of the time and the stop-and-frisk policy 12% of the time, while the participants who were shown a more accurate representation of blacks in prison signed the petitions 51.72% and 33.33% of the time, respectively. This difference in results proves the perceived prison population by race is influential in changing people’s opinions of punitive policies. (Hetey and Eberhardt 2014) In a more general sense, people who associate crime and prison with blacks are more likely to desire more punitive policies.
The concern and support for the War on Drugs grew with time, but there needed to be more evidence for the severity of the problem. The quickest and easiest way to prove that the country needed to be in this war was by increasing policing and arrests (Bobo and Thompson 2006). From the years 1980...

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...t 285,000 inmates were added to prison from the years 1880 to 1980 (Bobo and Thompson 2006). That means the number of inmates added to prisons in a twenty year period after the war on drugs started is almost four times the amount added in an entire century before it. It will come as no shock that the proportions within the prisons aren’t equal. In 2004, the total population of blacks in the United States was 13% and whites total population was 75%. Contrast this with the prison populations of that year: blacks were 43.3% and whites were 35.7% (Bobo and Thompson 2006). The war on drugs is clearly the cause of the driving up of the numbers, as seen by the increase over time, and when you add the massive difference in ratios of total population to prison population, there is clear support that the war on drugs is used to maintain the racial divide of the United States.

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