Drug Policy Library
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, by Michelle Alexander
Once in a great while a book comes along that changes the way we see the world and helps to fuel a nationwide social movement. The New Jim Crow is such a book. Praised by Harvard Law professor Lani Guinier as "brave and bold," this book directly challenges the notion that the election of Barack Obama signals a new era of colorblindness. With dazzling candor, legal scholar Michelle Alexander argues that "we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it." By targeting black men through the War on Drugs and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control—relegating millions to a permanent second-class status—even as it formally adheres to the principle of colorblindness
Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs, by Johann Hari
What if everything you think you know about addiction is wrong? One of Johann Hari's earliest memories is of trying to wake up one of his relatives and not be able to. As he grew older, he realized he had addiction in his family. Confused, unable to know what to do, he set out on a three-year, 30,000-mile journey to discover what really causes addiction--and what really solves it.
He uncovered a range of remarkable human stories--of how the war on drugs began with Billie Holiday, the great jazz singer, being stalked and killed by a racist policeman; of the scientist who discovered the surprising key to addiction; and of the countries that ended their war on drugs--with extraordinary results.
His discoveries led him to give a TED talk and animation which have now been viewed more than 25 million times. This is the story of a life-changing journey that showed the world the opposite of addiction is connection.
Dorm Room Dealers: Drugs and the Priviledges of Race and Class, by A. Rafik Mohamed and Erik D Fritsvold
Why do affluent, upwardly mobile college students - who have everything to lose and little to gain - choose to sell drugs? Why do law enforcement officers largely overlook drug dealing on college campuses? With rich, lively details, A. Rafik Mohamed and Erik Fritsvold deliver unprecedented insight into the world of college drug dealers - and offer an important corrective to the traditional distorted view of the US drug trade as primarily involving poor minorities. Drawing on three years of fieldwork at a predominately white private university, their exceptional ethnography skilfully explores issues of deviance, race, and stratification in the US war on drugs. The book offers novel insight into the world of college drug dealers, exploring issues of deviance, race, and stratification in the US War on Drugs.
Movies / Documentaries
13th (2016 Documentary)
The 13th Amendment to the U. S. Constitution abolished slavery. But it also included a provision many people don't know about and that is what this documentary brings to view. "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist." That exception justifies the use of forced labor as long as the laborer is a convict. This documentary makes the case that inclusion of this loophole is only one of the justifications for continuing domination of people of color. The 13th Amendment was ratified in 1865 and director Ava DuVernay supports her thesis through the use of both historical footage and interviews. Film clips of former President Richard Nixon call for 'Law & Order' which has resulted in exploding prison populations. The U. S. only has 5% of the world's population but has 25% of the world's prisoners. This Law & Order policy enabled government to imprison blacks. John Ehrlichman was Assistant to President Nixon for Domestic Affairs: "Did we know we were lying? Of course we did." The documentary makes the case that those drug busts, Jim Crow laws and segregation are all variations of domination of black America. Currently the 'Prison/Industrial Complex' is just a new version of the same old problem. Here DuVernay returns to the 13th Amendment and makes the case that the system cannot be dealt with by making small changes. The system itself has to be rebuilt.
What's In My Baggie? (2014 Documentary)
Common drugs from previous generations like LSD, mushrooms, cocaine and opiates are still popular, but they've been joined by the likes of MDMA and ecstasy, amphetamines, ketamine, and a massive array of others. According to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, 243 new drugs have been reported since 2009. Unfortunately, many festival-goers and other young people alike seem to be oblivious to the invasion of dangerous new drugs, and the ready availability of substance test kits and educational resources from various harm reduction organizations. The film crew documented their findings by filming substance test kit results at music festivals, as well as interviews with harm reduction organizations, law enforcement officials, and distributors of these illicit substances. Needless to say, the film crew quickly discovered that most people were surprised to find that their bag of drugs was not what they paid for.
Drugs and Stuff: A Podcast about Drugs, Harm Reduction, Mass Incarceration, The Drug War
A podcast created by the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), the nation's leading organization working to end the war on drugs. In this show, they focus on legalizing marijuana; criminal justice reform and ending draconian prison sentences for drugs; harm reduction policies that prevent overdoses and save lives; and we educate the public about drugs while dispelling popular myths and misinformation.
Ear Hustle brings you stories of life inside prison, shared and produced by those living it. The podcast is a partnership between Nigel Poor, a Bay Area visual artist and Earlonne Woods, currently incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison, and was co-founded with fellow inmate Antwan Williams.
The team works in San Quentin’s media lab to produce stories that are sometimes difficult, often funny, and always honest, offering a nuanced view of people living within the American prison system.