The War on Drugs as Harm to Persons: Cultural Violence as Symbol and Justification

in Peace, Culture, and Violence
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Three issues come to the fore in examining the “War on Drugs” policies that have devastated the urban African American community. First, drug policies have led to racially discriminatory sentencing disparities and created a criminal justice system of social control. Second, the policy decision to treat drug offenses as crimes worthy of punishment has failed to connect to a reasonable view of what should constitute a just punishment. The third issue concerns the cultural violence in relation to symbols of justice, which provide the cultural supports for sustaining drug war policies and justifying the harm those policies have caused persons.

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