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Myth: Prisons are full of people in for marijuana possession. Is Rolling Stone magazine correct?

Asked by: GWL-CPA
  • Thousands of people is a misrepresentation?

    I find it fascinating that some people seem to believe that it is okay to imprison thousands of people for marijuana possession. A study in Florida found that 1800 people had been imprisoned for marijuana possession over the past 3 years in one county (Orange County). Who cares that 75% of people are not charged, or do not go to prison for drug possession. That's still 600 people/year that the tax payers pay to keep in jail for a crime that hurts no one. Not to mention the fact that those folks cannot receive pell grants in the future, they have a permanent criminal record that will hold them back forever, and become a new reason for police harassment and imprisonment in the future. This sounds like a big deal to me.

  • Who's Really In Prison for Marijuana? http://www.prisonpolicy.org/scans/whos_in_prison_for_marij.pdf

    “Fact: About 750,000 people are arrested every year for marijuana offenses in the U.S. There's a lot of variation across states in what happens next. Not all arrests lead to prosecutions, and relatively few people prosecuted and convicted of simple possession end up in jail. Most are fined or are placed into community supervision. About 40,000 inmates of state and federal prison have a current conviction involving marijuana, and about half of them are in for marijuana offenses alone; most of these were involved in distribution. Less than one percent are in for possession alone.”
    Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/lists/top-10-marijuana-myths-and-facts-20120822/myth-prisons-are-full-of-people-in-for-marijuana-possession-19691231#ixzz2N4APexqM

    This article states that number of people in jail for possession alone is less than one percent – 1%. Let’s do the math, one percent multiplied by 750,000 marijuana arrests (750,000 multiplied by .01) equals 7,500 people.

    xxXChelsea, an 18 year-old member claims that 45 million have been locked up since the Drug War began in over 40 years since Nixon was in office; she cite no data sources as proof.

    According to the study done by Rolling Stones, one percent or about 7,500 are put in jail annually for simple possession. Let’s do the math, 7,500 annually divided into 45,000,000 (45 million). 45,000,000/7,500 per year equals 6,000. That is, it would take 6,000 years to put 45 million people in jail for simple possession of marijuana. But, xxXChelsea is saying that 45 million have been locked up since the Drug War began 40 years ago for all types of drug offenses.

    But, the Rolling Stones article is only about marijuana. Let’s see if we can find out how many people are in jail for drug offenses.

    One study says a total of 331,600 were in US Prisons for drug offenses (94,600 Federal and 237,000 State).
    http://www.drugwarfacts.org/cms/Prisons_and_Drugs#sthash.Cn4l4xpg.dpbs

    Another study has 108,000 in federal prisons, 280,000 in state prisons (excluding California) and 171,161 in California for a total of 559,161 in jail or prison.
    http://open.salon.com/blog/stephannie/2010/05/16/how_many_people_are_incarcerated_for_drug_related_offenses

    For arguments sake, let’s take the 559,161 and assume that that many people are put in jail or prison each year for drug related offenses; even though less than . How many years would it take to get 45 million people in jail? It would take 80 years (45,000,000 divided by 559,161).

    But, the fact is that much fewer than 559,161 are arrested and put in jail each year for drug offenses. But, many drug users like to spread MYTHS about how many are put in jail for drug offenses, e.g., 45 million since Nixon in 1969, which is about 44 years ago.

  • Hello, common decency anyone?

    If there is one single person serving prison time for marijuana there is one too many. Regardless if the prison is "full" of people with minor marijuana infractions. The fact is that "marijuana infractions" should not exist. Why are people still arguing about this? Just decriminalize it and let them go. If they belong in prison they will make there way back there another way.

  • Are you kidding?

    People are arrested, tried, and detained daily for possession, consumption, and sale of marijuana. It is getting less as the years go on as people are starting to stand up for themselves. When you live this, it's more than a far off statistic that I happen to read from the US Census Bureau.

    As of 2011, 757,969 people were ARRESTED for marijuana compared with 853,839 as of 2010.

    Regardless of how big or "teensy" the ratio of marijuana related offenses is compared to other criminal drug offenses does not matter. Anyone in jail for a marijuana related offense, and ONLY a marijuana related offense, should immediately be pardoned from jail.

  • I saw it for myself

    A guy was in jail for a felony because his friend had a joint in his pocket in his house within 500 yards of a school and he got jail time plus 4 years of probation, not to mention the felony on his record. Also he recently failed a UA for THC and is currently serving 9 months in jail with no bail... This is in Texas and he is currently in jail.

  • Prison or Nature ?

    The government spends way more money on the: prison, law and military and far to less on nature. The government could: use select tree cutting method instead of clear cut or just use hemp paper. Get the people under pot charges out of jail do they can get back to their job and family. Vote for green party!!!

  • Yes it's true lol

    Something like 40% of criminals incarcerated in America are there for non-violent drug offences. Maybe not all of them for some weed, alot of meth, heroin and coke as well, but either way they only hurt themselves really....Now I know this might sound crazy to you right wingers but its time to change an ancient law

  • Prisons are big business

    I remember watching a documentary explaining the benefits of a full prison system. Something like 40% of criminals incarcerated in America are there for non-violent drug offences. Maybe not all of them for some weed, alot of meth, heroin and coke as well, but either way they only hurt themselves really....

  • The Government even admits to it:

    I only chose 'yes' because 60-70k people in prison for possession alone is insane. I wouldn't go so far as to say the prisons are 'full of people' but I think that phrase was used as a 'shock' rather than to actually mean that the prisons are wall-to-wall with possession prisoners.

    Http://www.Bjs.Gov/content/pub/pdf/p12tar9112.Pdf#sthash.KiWh5IO1.Dpuf

    Page 5 and 6, table 3 and 4 will lay it out for everyone to see.

    Also, for more wonderful statistics on drugs and the war against behavior, check out this (which is also a book):

    http://www.Drugwarfacts.Org/cms/Prisons_and_Drugs#sthash.KiWh5IO1.Dpbs

    This is complete with academically accepted citations (most of them come from the government's own website).

    Don't rely on rhetoric to form your opinions, get the facts, and get them from the people harming us as their numbers might actually be skewed to show less than there actually is.

  • The Government even admits to it:

    I only chose 'yes' because 60-70k people in prison for possession alone is insane. I wouldn't go so far as to say the prisons are 'full of people' but I think that phrase was used as a 'shock' rather than to actually mean that the prisons are wall-to-wall with possession prisoners.

    Http://www.Bjs.Gov/content/pub/pdf/p12tar9112.Pdf#sthash.KiWh5IO1.Dpuf

    Page 5 and 6, table 3 and 4 will lay it out for everyone to see.

    Also, for more wonderful statistics on drugs and the war against behavior, check out this (which is also a book):

    http://www.Drugwarfacts.Org/cms/Prisons_and_Drugs#sthash.KiWh5IO1.Dpbs

    This is complete with academically accepted citations (most of them come from the government's own website).

    Don't rely on rhetoric to form your opinions, get the facts, and get them from the people harming us as their numbers might actually be skewed to show less than there actually is.

  • No there are a lot of people in jail for marijuana, but they are not full with only marijuana arrests.

    I think Rolling Stone magazine is doing what most magazines do best. Promote and sensationalize stories to sell more magazines. There are something like 2.5 million people in jail in the United States. Maybe more. The statistic I read was from 2008. Even if it was something like 750,000 marijuana related prisoners we are only at 33%. That is hardly "Full" from marijuana possession. Plus I didn't see a break down of how many are in jail for having only a small personal use amount compared to a large quantity with intent to sell. I am sure the stats are out there, but I doubt there are a ton of people in jail for having a couple joints. I know many of my friends have been pulled over with just a small amount and the worst they got was a court appearance. Now I do still believe marijuana should be legal and controlled just like alcohol. It wouldn't hurt if our jails were less crowded and then even if people were in jail for marijuana it would be because they are doing something that is a bigger deal. Like selling to kids or skipping out on taxes :)

  • Many are there for other reasons.

    This is making it sound like the majority of the people in jail are there only because they were either carrying or distributing marijuana. This is not the case. Many times people are stopped for other reasons and the police find marijuana (or other substances on them) which increases the penalty. Not only this, but many times when involving drugs of any kind, violence is also involved. The prison system also holds people for burglaries, rape, murder and other heinous crimes.

  • Some Do, Most don't

    I work with a lot of cops and nearly all tell me they don't waste their time when it's just pot. But 99% of the time it's not just pot. It's meth, coke, prescription meds, stolen goods, or some super high idiot spouting off about his constitutional rights.

    Don't be a jerk. Cops are people too. Don't try to drive with your knees when you're sprarking up a bowl in the fast lane and then blame it on your Grateful Dead bumper sticker when you get pulled over.

  • More for cocaine

    There are a lot of people in prison for drug offenses, but it is to my knowledge that it is more for cocaine or crack than for marijuana. We do need to reform our drug policies as well as length of prison sentences, but I don't think marijuana is a majority of the problem.

  • Misrepresentation of Facts

    Often when someone is convicted of a crime they are given a suspended sentence and probation. If they are stupid enough to carry or smoke pot while on probation and they get caught, they have violated the terms of their probation and they now have to go to prison to serve their original sentence (for a different crime -- NOT marijuana possession) which had previously been suspended. It is a complete misrepresentation of facts to say they are in prison for the marijuana possession.

  • This is a Misrepresentation

    People get arrested and convicted on other charges and then they are sometimes given a suspended sentence and probation with conditions. While on probation they must abstain from using illegal drugs. If they are stupid enough to use marijuana and fail a drug test while on probation then they violate their probation and go to prison to server their original sentence for the crime they committed in the first place (which was NOT marijuana possession). To say they went to prison for marijuana possession or use is a complete misrepresentation of the facts.

  • Not often are people sent to jail for possession of a small amount of marijuana in their home

    These types of convictions would overburden our prison system. There are just too many cases of this type of violation. With no intention to distribute or use in a motor vehicle it is useless to consider these people criminals. I just had this discussion with my Bible study group where some people thought it necessary to legalize this drug in order to prevent such convictions. I don't believe that really happens!


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GWL-CPA says2013-03-11T19:04:45.067
Anonymous are you still dealing drugs?
GWL-CPA says2014-03-16T01:58:01.557
Myth: Prisons are full of people in for marijuana possessio

Fact: About 750,000 people are arrested every year for marijuana offenses in the U.S. There's a lot of variation across states in what happens next. Not all arrests lead to prosecutions, and relatively few people prosecuted and convicted of simple possession end up in jail. Most are fined or are placed into community supervision. About 40,000 inmates of state and federal prison have a current conviction involving marijuana, and about half of them are in for marijuana offenses alone; most of these were involved in distribution. Less than one percent are in for possession alone.


Http://www.Rollingstone.Com/culture/lists/top-10-marijuana-myths-and-facts-20120822/myth-prisons-are-full-of-people-in-for-marijuana-possession-19691231#ixzz2w5Pi4niW

Can You Get the Pell Grant If You Have Been Convicted of a Drug Felony Charge?
By Calla Hummel, eHow Contributor

Every year, one out of 400 students applying for federal student aid is rejected solely because of a drug conviction, according to StateUniversity.Com. Indiana has the highest number of rejections at roughly one in 200, while California, Washington, Oregon, North Carolina, Texas and Alaska also have high rates. In 1998, Congress amended the Higher Education Act (HEA) to bar some students from receiving aid due to past drug convictions. Whether your felony prevents you from receiving a Pell Grant depends on your individual case, however. Have a question? Get an answer from a personal finance professional now!
Other People Are Reading
What Charges Affect Financial Aid? Convicted Felons & Pell Grants
Worksheet
To apply for a Pell Grant, you must fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). On the FAFSA, question 23 asks if you have ever been convicted of a drug-related offense. If you answer yes or leave the question blank, you are not immediately disqualified. Instead, the Department of Education will send you a worksheet to fill out, through which you present the details of the felony. The worksheet will be forwarded to your school where a financial aid officer will review your case individually.

Ineligibility Periods
The 1998 HEA amendment sets ineligibility periods for receiving federal financial aid. According to the amendment, if you were convicted of drug possession, a first offense carries one year of ineligibility, a second offense means two years and a third offense can permanently disqualify you. If you were convicted of selling drugs, a first offense carries a two-year ineligibility period and a second offense can bar you completely.

While multiple felonies may permanently disqualify you from receiving federal student aid, a single drug-related felony several years ago should not prevent you from receiving a Pell Grant.

Read more: http://www.ehow.com/info_7906184_can-convicted-drug-felony-charge.html#ixzz2w5RqQc1D