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Letter to the Editor: Film documents failure of war on drugs

on June 13, 2014 10:50 AM

During its film series at the Indiana Theater on Philadelphia Street, the Center for Community Growth shows documentary films about important social, environmental and economic issues. On May 30, the center showed “The House I Live In” by Eugene Jarecki, which documents the war on drugs as a monetary, societal and humanitarian failure.

The film demonstrates that instead of addressing and preventing addiction and other problems associated with substance abuse, the war on drugs has resulted in appalling human numbers. These include figures such as more than 45 million arrests, a factor that made the USA the world’s largest jailer (Jarecki).

These numbers are even more sordid as one considers the enormous and profitable industrial prison complex where prisoners are warehoused according to mandatory sentences that often far outweigh the severity of the crime.

In other words, the war on drugs, as demonstrated by the film “The House I Live In,” has produced a repressive system, especially one that targets minority cultures, disadvantaged individuals and even those with mental illness.

Following the film, several local experts participated in a panel discussion that focused on how the war on drugs has manifested in our community. These included members of the Armstrong-Indiana-Clarion Drug and Alcohol Commission, the IUP Sociology Department and the NAACP.

The audience left this discussion with greater awareness, but with few answers about how to address this increasingly complex and destructive problem.

The Center for Community Growth plans to continue this discussion about the war on drugs and our ever-expanding system of incarceration in its future film series. Follow the link at www.pbs.org/independent lens/house-i-live-in/film.html for more information about how you might further this discussion about the war on drugs and mandatory sentencing.

On June 27, at 7:30 p.m., the center will show “Pandora’s Promise,” a film that raises questions about our fears of nuclear energy as it considers how this controversial form of energy might lift the developing world out of poverty.

Come and join the discussion.

Colleen Donovan

Indiana

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