I have a long view of the criminal punishment system, having been in the trenches for nearly 40 years as an activist, lobbyist, legislative counsel, legal scholar, and policy analyst. So I was hardly surprised when Richard Nixon’s domestic policy advisor John Ehrlichman revealed in a 1994 interview that the “War on Drugs” had begun as a racially motivated crusade to criminalize Blacks and the anti-war left.
“We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or blacks, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin and then criminalizing them both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night in the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did,” Ehrlichman said...read more