Why is this a big deal?
The ACLU and HRW aren't some rinky-dink activist groups with names like "Druggies United." They're huge human rights groups with international influence, and they've essentially said that the War on Drugs, declared during the Nixon administration, is backwards and wrong.
So, yeah. Those years in D.A.R.E. were a waste -- the ACLU says so!
Jails are filled with drug offenders
To get an idea of just how aggressive police are in catching drug offenders, someone is arrested for possession every 25 seconds in the US, according to the report. This amounts to 1.25 million arrests a year, and approximately 137,000 people are in jail for drug possession on any given day.
Since prison overcrowding is already a major problem, especially in states like California and Texas, easing up on drug offenders, who account for nearly 50% of prisoners behind bars, would help reduce taxpayer burdens and the social costs of tearing families apart.
It costs people their futures
Aside from the heavy financial burden of trudging through the criminal justice system, which certainly takes a toll, people accused of drug-related felonies are essentially screwed for life. After a felony conviction, people are barred from getting many jobs, housing, school, welfare, voting, and more. It's hard to rehabilitate and start a new, clean life if there are no options for a legal job and affordable housing, Human Rights Watch argues.