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Letters: War on drugs takes toll on families

Posted by LewisvilleTexan on 2016/1/21 6:15:16 (1243 reads)

To the editor:

My younger brother was arrested on Friday. He is a drug addict. It’s okay, you can go ahead and judge him, my family, my parents, I got over that many years ago. My brother was released from a 3 year prison sentence in early 2015, but as prison doesn’t cure addiction, he was caught with drugs again.

My family has long run out of money for lawyers so he’ll be represented by whoever is assigned to him and he’ll be back in prison for 2-99 years, whatever the prosecutor and the judge feel like on that day.

If you’ve never had a loved one in prison I will tell you what is true for me – it is necessary to kill a part of yourself in order to deal with the reality of having a loved one locked up in a corrupt and dangerous system. I’m not sure what that part is called but I know whatever it is - killing it is the only way to make it possible to sleep through the night, wake up in the morning, have some laughter, raise your kids, and get on with your life. But all along you know that part of you is dead and gone. That’s the war on drugs.

The punishment isn’t only applied to the prisoner, it is applied to the sons and the daughters, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters. The pain ripples through families and communities. The United States has 5% of the world’s population and 25% of the prison population. That’s 2 million people in prison.

What about those who are released from prison? They are welcomed to 2nd class citizenship – good luck getting a job, a place to live, a vote. People of color suffer the most – racial profiling, discriminatory practices of law enforcement and the criminal justice system leave us with 1 in 3 black men expected to spend time in prison in their lifetime. We have a criminal justice system so racist that a 16 year old child accused of stealing a backpack went on to spend three years in prison.

If you are white, if you have money, if you have never had a loved one addicted to drugs than maybe none of this has ever touched your life and I’m happy for you. Congratulations. But please know that right here in the United States, human rights violations are occurring on a daily basis.

We have an unjust system producing misery. Maybe think about that when you judge protestors blocking traffic and disrupting the daily commute. Think about it when you decide to blindly support anyone in a uniform despite the acts of violence they have committed. Actually think about it as much as possible – there are people right now suffering and they need us to pay attention.

Lisa Palmer,
Flower Mound

Send your letters to, or mail them to:
Lewisville Texan Journal
1720 S. Edmonds Ln
Suite 10
Lewisville, TX 75067

Be sure to include your name, city, and a phone number for verification.

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