Needlessly Ruined Lives

rforan8 Collateral Consequences, Decriminalization

By Rev. Alexander E. Sharp

Last December, I travelled to Vermont to engage clergy in ending the War on Drugs. The Episcopal Bishop had generously agreed to convene a group of colleagues in his Burlington office. They listened politely and offered constructive responses as I outlined why treating drug use as a crime, rather than a health problem, is morally wrong.

When I mentioned that our current drug laws mean that individuals are “marked for life” – with barriers that keep them from ever getting jobs, housing, education and, if they are poor, public assistance and food stamps – the conversation jumped to a whole new level. “I didn’t know that,” the Bishop exclaimed. “We’ve got to educate people about this.”

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Changing Drug Policy in Illinois

rforan8 Decriminalization, IL

By Rev. Alexander E. Sharp

On Monday April 20th, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez announced three major changes in the way her office responds to non-violent drug cases. Her staff will no longer prosecute most low-level marijuana offenders and will direct Class 4 non-violent controlled substance offenders into treatment. The Office also will create a street-level diversion program for juveniles modeled on the successful Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) programs modeled in Seattle and Santa Fe.

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Cook County State Attorney to Dismiss Minor Marijuana Cases

rforan8 IL, Press Release

FAITH LEADERS IN CHICAGO SUPPORT ANNOUNCEMENT OF COOK COUNTY STATE’S ATTORNEY ALVAREZ DECISION TO DISMISS MINOR MARIJUANA CASES

 

Chicago, IL – Religious leaders across Cook County applauded State’s Attorney Anita Alverez’s announcement this morning that her office will no longer prosecute misdemeanor marijuana possession cases and will steer Class 4 felony cases to community-based drug treatment programs.

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On Jeanne Bishop’s Book “Change of Heart”

rforan8 Clemency

By Rev. Alexander E. Sharp 

ChangeofHeartWhen writer and move director Nora Ephron offered advice to aspiring authors, she would often say, “Voice, voice, more voice.” What she meant was that good writers must be authentic. They must be honest. They must eliminate the distance between head and heart. In her recently published book, Change of Heart, Jeanne Bishop is so authentic it takes your breath away.

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Answering The Call

rforan8 Guest Pieces, Opinion

Today’s guest blogger is Bill Fried, Director of Programs and Financial Administration for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition [LEAP]. At LEAP, Bill creates and oversees such programs as Cops and Clergy; he also has extensive experience in the non-profit field and his opinion pieces have appeared in the Boston Globe and on National Public Radio.

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