<p>Tony Newman, 646-335-5384</p>
On Wednesday, March 22, Human Rights Watch, the Drug Policy Alliance and Hunter College Human Rights Program will host a conversation about the global movement toward ending the criminalization of drug use and possession for personal use, as well as current prospects for drug policy reform at the local, state, national and international levels.
Drug Policy Reform: Prospects for Change in the U.S. and Abroad
Date: Wednesday, March 22
Time: 2:30 – 4:00pm
Location: Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College (47-49 East 65th St., NYC)
Every 25 seconds someone in the U.S. is arrested for possessing drugs for personal use. This amounts to more than 1.25 million arrests per year and makes drug possession the single most arrested crime in the country. Black and white adults use and sell drugs at similar rates, but a Black adult is 2.5 times more likely to be arrested for drug possession. As a result of these arrests, on any given day at least 137,000 people are behind bars. Tens of thousands more are convicted, cycle through jails and prisons, and spend extended periods on probation and parole, often burdened with crippling debt from court-imposed fines and fees.
Increasingly, other countries and many in the U.S. have been calling for reducing the role of criminalization in drug policy. Roughly two dozen countries, and dozens of U.S. cities and states, have taken steps toward decriminalization in recent years. By decriminalizing possession and investing in treatment and harm reduction services, the harms of problematic drug use can be more effectively addressed, while improving public safety and health.
This event will discuss the drug policy reform landscape in the U.S. and the move toward decriminalization around the world, drawing on the following recent reports: