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Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

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Monday, April 30, 2007

Gang Bust Doesn't Stop the Need

The largest gang bust in Denver won't really change things in the long run. It will stop drugs and violence for a short time. Those are holes that will be refilled. Thirty years of drug war activity has proven one thing. The War On Drugs has failed. We need to run the battle from a different place. Start with poverty and racial and class disparity, don't end with it.

The demand for illegal drugs and weapons continues.

Eid is relying on "the signal this sends to other gangs. We can do this over and over again. And we will."

That's the wild card in every operation of this scope. What the cops see as a deterrent, gangsters might see as an opportunity.

"You go for the most violent, and this (group) is different in terms of the kind of violence," Eid said. "So if you can decapitate that, you send a signal to the ones who are not quite as crazed as this group is."

Sadly, it might have as much to do with potential profits as craziness.

"Not everyone was taken off today," DA Morrissey acknowledged after Thursday's news conference. "That's something you have to watch. A part of this is that there is a demand. And there are people that will fill the void. Why we did this on the grand scale is we want to try to contain it. Then, when they try to fill the void, they're not nearly as organized or as complex."

Just as the bust was very bad news for gangsters, Morrissey's reasoning was sound. But the wads of cash seized in raids and displayed in evidence photographs behind him told a parallel tale. That story is about the need for much greater investments in drug-abuse prevention, gang alternative programs and family planning. It is about money and manpower spent to make schools that work.

In addition to jailing the worst of the worst, the risk-rewards ratio must change on both sides of the equation.

The Rollin' 30s and Tre Tres bust produced $1.65 million in contraband cash, according to law enforcement officials. That's still a whopping lot of incentive for young people who think their professional alternatives are welfare, day labor or flipping burgers at Mickey D's.Denver Post

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Another example of how money talks. Its time to legalize drugs and use our money in other ways.
When you make something illegal you simply create a black market which is always dangerous