An interesting question arises in the case of Phillip Garrido, the man who allegedly kidnapped 11-year-old Jaycee Lee Dugard, raped her, and kept her captive for almost 20 years: Did the drug war play a role in this horrible event?
Having previously been convicted of kidnapping and rape, Garrido had been released from a federal penitentiary after serving less than 11 years and from a Nevada state prison after serving less than 7 months. Yet, his original sentence had been 50 years!
Why was he released so early? Could the drug war have had anything to do with that?
According to an article posted today in the Reno Gazette-Journal, “Newspaper articles from the late 1980s show Nevada prisons were overcrowded at the time and the parole board was coming under fire for releasing large numbers of inmates, particularly sex offenders who had served fractions of their sentences.”
Was that prison-overcrowding problem due in large part to crackdowns in the war on drugs and the need to make room for non-violent drug offenders in jail by releasing the violent criminals, like Phillip Garrido?
I don’t know the answer to that question. But given the manifest failure of the war on drugs, it deserves to be asked, especially since ending the war on drugs could perhaps help save the lives and freedom of victims of violent crimes in the future by focusing the attention of government officials where it should be focused — on the commission of violent crimes, not non-violent ones.