Drug abuse is a serious problem, but the "War on Drugs" shows no sign of being won and has come with a heavy price tag. Critics say that its side effects- increased taxes, increased crime and corruption here and abroad, loss of civil liberties, decreased health, prison overcrowding, discrimination against African Americans and other groups, and the diversion of resources away from other problems- are even worse for society than the drugs themselves. Many public officials share this sentiment but fear political reprisals if they speak out. However, Judges James Gray and Vaughn Walker, having witnessed the Drug War up close, believe that the time has come to testify publicly about its ill effects- and to outline bold, new approaches to the drug problem.
With the recent school massacre in Littleton, Colorado; the shootings of Jewish children in Los Angeles; and rampant drive-by shootings and other atrocities, what can and should be done to protect the innocent against violence in American society? Can government protect the citizenry against gun-related violence? What is the record of individual self-defense against violence in Britain and the U.S.? In this very timely Independent Policy Forum, acclaimed historian Joyce Lee Malcolm and civil rights attorney Don Kates will examine gun laws, violence, and rights.
Co-sponsored by the Independent Institute and Koch Crime Commission
University Theater, Garvey Fine Arts Center
Washburn University, Topeka, Kansas
Arthur R. Miller, Professor of Law, Harvard University
Bruce L. Benson, Professor of Economics, Florida State University; Senior Fellow, The Independent Institute
Erika Holzer, bestselling author of book and major motion picture, Eye for an Eye
Wendy Kaminer, Contributing Editor, The Atlantic Monthly
William I. Koch, Chairman, Koch Crime Commission
Alan J. Lizotte, Director, Hindelang Criminal Justice Research Center, University at Albany
David B. Sentelle, Judge, U. S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit
David J. Theroux, Founder and President, The Independent Institute
Richard L. Thornburgh, former U.S. Attorney General
Hubert Williams, President, Police Foundation
Marvin E. Wolfgang, Director, Sellin Center for Studies in Criminology, University of Pennsylvania
James R. Wyrsch, President, Wyrsch Hobbs Mirakian & Lee, P.C.
Violent crime continues to be a major social and economic problem in the United States and around the world. This important debate, held before an audience of 1,000 at Washburn University, features a panel of experts from diverse backgrounds and perspectives, including criminal justice officials, business and civic leaders, scholars, and best-selling authors.
In a lively and challenging exchange of ideas, the program addresses why the criminal justice system has become increasingly bureaucraticized and politicized, ever less responsive and ever more costly. Topics include victims rights, crime and incarceration rates, restitution, civil liberties, illicit drugs, guns, racism, policing, privatization, and sentencing.
Co-sponsored by the Independent Institute and Koch Crime Commission, this program was distributed by Central Educational Network and appeared on the Public Broadcasting System.