As you might expect, a number of concerns have been raised over the years about policies that by and large affect minorities. Just like mandatory minimum sentences and zero-tolerance substance rules, draconian “war on drugs” policies mainly impact people of color. Such laws were one of the major contributors to our penal institutions being filled with nonviolent drug offenders.
With the nation facing the most serious drug epidemic in history, states have begun to rethink their drug-free school zone policies, some shrinking in size while others grow, Stateline reports. In an attempt to reduce prison populations comprised mostly of nonviolent drug offenders, some states are reducing the size of their school zones, including:
“You’re increasing the penalties for crime for an entire city,” said Aleks Kajstura, the author of the study. “You’re no longer steering people away from these specially protected zones. There’s nowhere for them to go.”
This is a subject that is likely to be debated for years to come as lawmakers wrestle with policies that make the most sense. To be sure, nobody wants drug dealers conducting business near places of learning or child activity, but if policies are disproportionately affecting minorities who typically are not selling drugs to minors, but happen to be near a school–exceptions need to be or perhaps should be considered. It seems this conversation has been started, we will continue to follow the story-line on drug-free school zones in America.