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The War on Drugs ravages New Orleans


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If it's not a hurricane (and an abysmal federal response) decimating New Orleans' African-American community, it's a wannabe "tough on crime" district attorney. Facing South, the blog of the Institute for Southern Studies, reports that "New Orleans District Attorney Keva Landrum-Johnson is filling up Louisiana’s prisons with a new policy charging minor marijuana offenders with felonies if they have prior convictions." Predictably, according to New Orleans CityBusiness: The resulting impact has clogged the courts with non-violent, petty offenses, drained the resources of the criminal justice system and damaged low-income African-American communities, [Steve Singer, chief of trials for the Orleans Public Defenders Office] said. This is nothing new, reports Facing South: Targeting nonviolent drug offenders and tacking felony charges on people arrested for second and third marijuana possession offenses is not a new phenomenon in the racially-skewed U.S. drug war. The impact on communities of color in the South has been devastating. In New Orleans, low-income African-Americans make up the majority of those facing charges each month, many of whom typically can’t afford bail and must sit in Orleans Parish Prison for extended periods of time unable to support their families. Read the whole Facing South entry here. Also, if you haven't visited before, the whole blog is worth a weekly look-see. You can read about how "coastal wetlands provide $23.2 billion worth of protection from hurricane-related flooding in the United States each year" on their site here.

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