According to a new study by our Colombian colleagues at DeJusticia, over the past several decades, Latin America has seen penalties for drug crimes—even small-scale selling—skyrocket. As the drug war has raged from Mexico to Argentina, non-violent offenders have grown to face significantly greater penalties than many violent criminals, including murderers.
“Addicted to Punishment: The Disproportionality of Drug Laws in Latin America,” is part of a group of studies by the Research Consortium for Drugs and the Law, a research coalition of organizations and academics from seven Latin American countries. Drug laws and sentencing guidelines throughout the region, the study concludes, have failed to distinguish between the severity of different crimes. This study adds to the growing literature on the failure of the drug war and is a clarion call for change in our drug control policies.
Photo courtesy of Jesús Abad Colorado ©