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March 20, 2013

New report details arrests and NYC police time spent on low-level marijuana offenses

As detailed in this new press release, the Drug Policy Alliance has released a new report on marijuana arrests in New York City.  Here are details via the release:

A new report released today documents the astonishing number of hours the New York Police Department has spent arresting and processing hundreds of thousands of people for low-level misdemeanor marijuana possession arrests during Mayor Bloomberg’s tenure. The report finds that NYPD used approximately 1,000,000 hours of police officer time to make 440,000 marijuana possession arrests over 11 years.  These are hours that police officers might have otherwise have spent investigating and solving serious crimes.

The report was prepared by Dr. Harry Levine, Professor of Sociology at Queens College and recognized expert on marijuana possession arrests, at the request of members of the New York City Council and the New York State Legislature.

Additionally, the report estimates that the people arrested by NYPD for marijuana possession have spent 5,000,000 hours in police custody over the last decade.   The report includes a compendium of quotes from academics, journalists, law enforcement professionals and elected officials attesting to the wastefulness, consequences and racial disparities inherent in these arrests....

“This report shows that people arrested for marijuana possession spend an average of 12-18 hours, just in police custody, and the vast majority of those arrested are young Black and Latino men from seven to ten neighborhoods in NYC,” said Chino Hardin, Field Coordinator and Trainer with the Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions.  “This is not just a crisis, but a frontline civil rights issue facing urban communities of color in the 21st century. We are calling on Governor Cuomo to do the right thing, and exercise the moral and political will to address this injustice.”...

The release of One Million Police Hours takes place as Governor Cuomo and leaders from the Senate and Assembly are in negotiations about the governor’s proposal to fix the state’s marijuana decriminalization law.  Although the state decriminalized possession of less than one ounce of marijuana in 1977, it authorized the police to charge a person with a crime if the marijuana was “in public view.”   As has been well-documented in both studies and media reports, police in New York, and particularly in NYC, have used this loophole to charge a crime when the marijuana is in public view as a result of a police search or a demand that the contents of someone’s pockets, backpacks, etc. be revealed.

The full 16-page report is available at this link.

March 20, 2013 at 09:21 AM | Permalink

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Comments

During the 3/16/13 St. Patrick's Day Parade,
reporter (J. Watters) described this:
“the guy’s smoking "blunts" in front of the [NYPD] police officers…they didn’t do anything about it.”
~~http://video.foxnews.com/v/2236084811001/

Posted by: Adamakis | Mar 20, 2013 11:13:50 AM

Back by popular demand, police have found nationwide that hard druggies nearly always consume pot as well,
all to the detriment of themselves and of society.

+++++ +++++ +++++ +++++
As have the DOJ (2008):
4%... of youth ages 12-17 who did not use marijuana sold drugs, whereas
45%.. of youth ages 12-17 who did use marijuana sold drugs.

Marijuana use was a better predictor than alcohol use of *every single delinquency studied*, i.e.:
1> school suspension,..2> vandalising property, 3> major theft,
4> attack / assault,.... 5> gang affiliation,
6> carrying handgun,.. 7> being arrested. ----------http://www.uscourts.gov/fedprob/June_2009/index.html, C.E.:
Nov 2008 DOJ Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, "Juvenile Justice Bulletin"
www.ojp.usdoj.gov
+++++ +++++ +++++ +++++

Using the proven "broken windows" approach, one might do well to nip crime in the bud.

Posted by: Adamakis | Mar 20, 2013 2:10:43 PM

Bill Otis will just dodge this data. It eviscerates his narrative.

Posted by: Lindsay Stephens | Mar 20, 2013 2:22:55 PM

Lindsay Stephens --

My "narrative" is that very, very few people get prison sentences for user amounts of pot, a narrative this story does absolutely nothing to rebut.

My other "narrative" is that simple possession of pot is de facto legal, which means simply that if you use it sitting at home, which is where almost everyone uses it, the likelihood of your getting even prosecuted, much less sentenced to jail, is asymptotic to zero. This story does nothing to rebut that, either.

Now let's see you dodge Adamakis's data.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Mar 20, 2013 2:39:32 PM

From Doug's entry:

"[T]he Drug Policy Alliance has released a new report on marijuana arrests in New York City. Here are details via the release:

"A new report released today documents the astonishing number of hours the New York Police Department has spent arresting and processing hundreds of thousands of people for low-level misdemeanor marijuana possession arrests during Mayor Bloomberg’s tenure. The report finds that NYPD used approximately 1,000,000 hours of police officer time to make 440,000 marijuana possession arrests over 11 years. These are hours that police officers might have otherwise have spent investigating and solving serious crimes."

Wow. That is something.

I wonder if people have seen this other "report:"

"The Bank Robbery Policy Alliance has released a new report on bank robbery arrests in New York City. Here are details via the release:

"A new report released today documents the astonishing number of hours the New York Police Department has spent arresting and processing hundreds of thousands of people for low-level bank robberies during Mayor Bloomberg’s tenure. The report finds that NYPD used approximately ten zillion hours of police officer time to make thousands of bank robbery arrests over 11 years, including robberies of filthy rich banks by Certified Victims of Capitalist Oppression. These are hours that police officers might have otherwise have spent investigating and solving serious crimes, such as violations of campus speech codes."

If the Drug Policy Alliance wants to issue a re-tread PR blast dressed up as a "report," hey, fine, I'll go along with the joke.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Mar 20, 2013 2:54:43 PM

Are there actually people/dinosaurs still left who thinks it makes sense to devote a penny of law enforcement resources to arresting and punishing people for using a harmless herb? No wonder we're still a mess.

Posted by: Jacob Isner | Mar 20, 2013 3:19:51 PM

Jacob Isner --

It's not harmless, as any number of legalization advpcates explicitly admit, including several on this blog.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Mar 20, 2013 3:47:47 PM

"where almost everyone uses it"

It is often used outside of the home & one expert (apologize don't have details on-hand, but cited this here in the past) during a panel discussion on Up With Chris Hayes noted that a significant number of people are not helped by legalization efforts when they (1) apply to only those over 21 and (2) still leave open liability for public use, which is favored by many.

BTW, I find it hard to believe that almost 1 in 2 of minors who "used" (which can be now and then at parties) pot also sold drugs. Likewise, alcohol use probably is linked with delinquency too. Correlation/causation and all that.

Posted by: Joe | Mar 20, 2013 4:34:46 PM

Yes, like many legal things, marijuana is not harmless. Sugar is not harmless.

The policy should rest on cost/benefits.

Posted by: Joe | Mar 20, 2013 4:36:50 PM

Joe --

One of your virtues is that, unlike Mr. Isner, you decline to lie about the supposed harmlessness of dope.

As to cost/benefit, that is certainly an important question, but one for those paying the costs (i.e., taxpayers) to decide. Thus far, there is, to say the least, an underwhelming taxpayer "revolt" against drug laws. As I have previously noted here, they were not even a dectectable issue in the last November's polls about what the electorate cared about.

There is a lot of yelping on this blog, and in fruitcake libertarian circles, about pot, but the evidence is that the majority in this country could care less.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Mar 20, 2013 5:10:56 PM

Legislative change is a drawn out process and the NY legislature (for years, split by party lines) is up there on drawing things out. To take an example, only a couple years or so back did NY finally join the club regarding no fault divorce. A segment of the population cares about this issue, but since only a minority are affected, it is not likely to get thru a bottleneck that blocks even stuff a majority supports. "Costs" here aren't only monetary.

Andrew Cuomo has a strategy of finding things for various sides to agree upon so is more likely to get something thru here. The "in public view" thing is smallish tweak that both sides might go along with as long as other stuff they like is part of the overall program. With your same sex marriage and pot reform, you will have some tax stuff and some allowance of fracking etc.

Posted by: Joe | Mar 20, 2013 7:50:35 PM

Percentage of 12-to 20-Year-Olds in the General Population
Percentage of 12-to 20-Year-Olds in Custody

+++++ +++++ +++++ +++++
DOJ (2010):
84% of youth in custody admit using marijuana, compared to
30% of youth in the general population. δ = 54%
2.8x greater association

50% of youth in custody admit using any illegal drug other than marijuana, compared to
27% of youth in the general population. δ = 23%
1.85x greater association

19% of youth in custody admit using inhalants,compared to
12% of youth in the general population. δ = 7%
1.6x greater association

74% of youth in custody have tried alcohol, compared to
56% of youth in the general population. δ = 18%
1.3x greater association
--------------------------------April 2010 DOJ Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention,
"Juvenile Justice Bulletin" www.ojp.usdoj.gov

+++++ +++++ +++++ +++++

Using the proven "broken windows" approach, one might do well to nip crime in the bud,
but Joe finds it "hard to believe".

Posted by: Adamakis | Mar 20, 2013 11:08:19 PM

Lindsay Stephens will just dodge this data. It eviscerates her narrative (her narrative being that pot is "harmless,' that the DEA is the Gestapo, etc., etc.).

Posted by: Bill Otis | Mar 21, 2013 10:27:42 AM

Adamakis, let's try to focus on what I said. I did not refute the "broken windows" theory -- I don't want to discuss that mega-issue. I said that I don't believe that nearly half of those kids cited that used pot also sold it. This is:

"45%.. of youth ages 12-17 who did use marijuana sold drugs."

Seems a lot -- plenty of people, including youths ("My Cousin Vinny" reference inserted here), use marijuana. Much fewer "sold drugs."

I see more youths also tried alcohol. Two things. (1) One drive here is the forbidden. It's like tobacco. Lot of kids at first don't like the stuff. But, it's "cool" to use it. So, they smoke. (2) They are kids. Kids are not allowed to purchase alcohol and are more restricted there too. How this applies to what adults, especially adults who might use if for certain things, is unclear.

Miscreant youths also are probably more likely to have sex. I don't think banning sex works well either. The "broken windows" theory also tended to be a matter of the public. As I noted, even legalization laws now don't allow smoking in public places. I don't know what those statistics really "prove."

Posted by: Joe | Mar 21, 2013 10:50:46 AM

"I don't know what those statistics really "prove.""
Wow
+++++ +++++ +++++ +++++
::::::
For youths 12-17, Marijuana use was a better predictor than alcohol use of *every single delinquency studied*, i.e.:
1> school suspension,..2> vandalising property, 3> major theft,
4> attack / assault,.... 5> gang affiliation,
6> carrying handgun,.. 7> being arrested.
::::::
For youths 12-20, those who use Marijuana have a 2.8x greater rate
of being taken into "custody", higher than any other drug/alcohol.
::::::
“The most prevalent combination of substance use disorders was alcohol and marijuana.”
--------------------------------February 2013 DOJ Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention,
"Juvenile Justice Bulletin"
+++++ +++++ +++++ +++++
At the very least---perhaps all one can expect from antinomians--the facts
support the conclusion that marijuana is so far from harmless that youth should
be prevented from use. [you know, those young, unformed-grey-matter-minds
who shan't be held fully criminally responsible, e.g. Chardon High murderer, Steubenville rapists.

Calling it a "harmless herb" {Isner} in no wise helps; should legalisation likely assist?

Posted by: Adamakis | Mar 22, 2013 10:27:37 AM

Citing strawman (marijuana is simply harmless) is a fun parlor game, but since miscreant youths have sex and do lots of other things we don't criminalize, I don't know what it tells me as a whole regarding criminalizing for adults.

Posted by: Joe | Mar 22, 2013 3:21:33 PM

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