The House I Live In Notes (Eva)

  • General Notes
    • Over 500,000 are incarcerated in the United States for nonviolent drug offenses
    • Black Americans are disproportionately represented at any stage in the drug war
    • 2.7 million children in America have had a parent behind bars
      • These children are far more likely to be incarcerated during their lifetime than children who have not had a parent in jail
  • Reagan
    • “Public enemy no. 1 is drug abuse”
  • Nixon
    • Is credited with starting the drug war as well as coining the phrase “War on Drugs”
    • Under Nixon, ⅔ of the budget for the drug was devoted to treatment rather than law enforcement
  • David Simon
    • What drugs haven’t destroyed, the war against them has
    • The US has the highest incarceration rate in the world
    • War on drugs – draconian and doesn’t work
    • The war on drugs has cost over $1 trillion since 1971
    • Illegal drug use has remained unchanged
    • Propaganda about what a drug user or seller is
      • “Became almost a wartime cartoon of the enemy”
    • The drug war started as a war on narcotics
      • Modern drug enforcement can be traced back to the early 1950s
    • Early narcotics enforcement targeted black Americans, “even though the addict population was always distinctly biracial”
  • Prof. William Julius Wilson (Harvard)
  • David Kennedy (John Jay)
    • Police tend to profile geographically and patrol certain areas
  • Charles Bowden
    • Very few people know about the war on drugs going on in America 
    • The United States has the biggest drug industry in the world
  • Dr. Gabor Maté (Addiction Expert)
    • We try to deal with the addiction like a legal problem when in reality it is a health problem
    • People use drugs to soothe the pain, so the real question is not “why the drugs” but instead “why the pain”
  • Michelle Alexander
    • There are more African-Americans under correctional control today than were enslaved in 1850
  • Prof. Charles J. Ogletree (Harvard)
    • There is a whole generation of kids who assume that they are destined to be in the criminal justice system


The House I Live In, BBC, 5 Oct. 2012,

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