Sunday, October 1, 2017

Meeting to Launch Effort to Close ICE Essex Detention Center 10/7. 2pm Newark

Equal Rights For All Who Live Here! There is No Such Thing as an “Illegal” Human Being!


All Welcome to an Organizing meeting to Close the ICE Immigrant Detention Center at the Essex County Jail in Newark Saturday, October 7 2 PM 157 Lafayette St. Newark, NJ The Trump regime is stepping up its attacks on immigrants and all workers.

The ending of the DACA program means 800,000 young people will be facing the deportation machinery, some beginning as soon March of next year. This past week Trump’s ICE agents began massive sweeps targeting so called ‘sanctuary “ cities Like Newark.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/ice-arrests-nearly-500-immigrants-160303060.html

But what kind of sanctuary city is Newark when we have one of Trump’s immigrant jails right in our community? The Essex County facility, and those like it around the country such as in neighboring Hudson County, are key parts of the machinery Trump needs to carry our plans to deport DACA youth and his broader efforts to ramp up deportations and terrorize all workers. The Essex County facility, and those around the county, need to be shutdown NOW! All are invited to this organizing meeting to strategize on how to close the ICE facility and build a broader fight back to defend immigrants and all workers For more information call Jay Arena at 504-520-9521

Monday, June 12, 2017

Bill Maher and the Thin Brown Wall.

It's frustrating to see this unfold as it has. It is indeed a teachable moment. Unfortunately, there are no abolitionists allowed on these global platforms to teach the underlining lesson. Legalized slavery and the 13TH amendment is either an unknown factor in their mind or simply not on the conversational priority lists. An astonishing thing to consider regarding people acutely aware they are currently standing in the heart of a nation that has more people in cages than at any time in the known history of mankind on planet earth. Hell. Louisiana alone is known as the prison capital of the world. in California incarceration is almost $80,000 a year per person. More than a year at Harvard. The national average is closer to $40,000 per inmate. Now multiply that by 2.4 million yearly. Add another 12 million times $25,000 for jails and from a view in space you can see human bodies pulsing dollars and cents in 6X9 transistor slots.
Still not feeling nuthin huh? Maybe it's the lead and chlorine diet mixed with SSRI systemic synapse restructuring efforts. IDK... justa guess.
Breakdown: A white man accepted as an ally, with the ear and eye's of millions, decided to make a big feaking joke out of slavery while talking to a senator in public. Referring to himself (the globe-trotting, footsie playing multimillionaire progressive white liberal) as a house slave when asked to volunteer in political fieldwork. Using his ... intimate "friendliness and familiarity" as a get out of deep shit free card.
Steve Harvey made a similar error. The re-vitiligo doesn't fool me. Same school of thought.
Let me point out something an abolitionist would catch. While he was telling that jokey joke about crimes against humanity, some governors mansions and even the white house at times has used or is using prison slave labor solely for economic reasons. The Clinton's used house slaves in Arkansas. I mean if you really want some stereotypes, there are field slaves out picking cotton in Angola prisons or potatoes in Idaho prisons now. Whole foods had access to a whole plantation worth tens of millions in revenue. They didn't see nothin wrong with a little trump and crime.
There are class action lawsuits in high courts right now against rampant slave labor use. Behind these bars across the nation, in places like Rikers and Tutweiler, suffering and exploitation is beyond a nightmare.
This past week alone I've reported on 3 different rape cases where SRO's LEO's and CO's are sociopaths. Women and children are being abused in ways that would challenge any poets commitment to being a narrator of the times. And you got jokes?
This isn't past history. Go to the governor's mansion and you might find a house slave working in the kitchen or offering white-gloved services today.
Maybe... the senator has seen them personally and was taken aback because Billy boy doesn't fit the description.
Ask the Clinton's what they know bout dat. I mean how else would those murderers get their freedom one day right? In the eye's of our oppressors, this is a great opportunity for formerly bad people to do something good with their lives. We should be thanking them. Like the other busted bill, O'really said. White House slaves had it real good ya'll.
I can't even get into the racism and stupidity involved with the video below and the line of questioning by the fallacy driven fake newsagent.
Slavery is a very sensitive topic of discussion these days. Talk about it enough and you begin to recognize it when you see it again. Maybe that is the problem and the solution.
I don't know Bill Maher. I don't like or GAF about him. This isn't just about one asinine white guy any more than Kalief Browder's story was just about Rikers.
You know... I bet I can relate with Ava DuVernay right about now. She said it loud and clear. From slave to criminal with one amendment.
Everyone loved it. She was a media darling. People played it everywhere and talked. Then, in less than a year folks consciously forgot what you were talking about and went back to living the lie. Maybe you did too. IDK. Denial is definitely an easy escape route.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Sussex county judges and officials complicit in aiding even rewarding sexual predators, must be stopped

Opinion:
Sussex County superior court judge James McGovern released ex Newton police officer on bail last week, after multiple incidents and vast prior history of this man endangering the welfare of his children, while simultaneously preying on your children.  This man showed his genitals to your teenage children during traffic stops, all of which evidence can be seen by asking Newton PD for an OPRA request of the footage.  Almost equally profane is how the courts handled their scumbag insider buddy cop.  He was released on bail and was on paid leave while they investigated.  While out on bail for his first offence, he molested another minor in Burger king.  Even amid NJ bail reform, people at risk of offending while on bail, or who have proven they will re-offend should be locked away forever.  It disgusts me the way the prosecutor and judges were so eager to let this man back  with his young children, or worse back in the community with yours.  Call judge McGovern's office and express your feelings, I know I'm not alone. 973-579-0680 (judges phone)

http://www.nj.com/sussex-county/index.ssf/2017/04/ex-newton_cop_accused_in_sex_assault_getting_out_o.html

cops name : Jason Miller

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Lisa Davis Sees Something and Says Something About NJ Transit Incarcerating Acts Toward Riders While Total Negligence Toward There Safety


 Yesterday, Lisa Davis, a well known Newark freedom fighter and activist, core member of Peoples Organization for Progress, NJ organizer for Black is Black Coalition and seeker of justice for the unjustly incarcerated was herself had cops called on her, always an implied threat of unjustified incarceration.

For what you ask?  For walkingTHROUGH the the waiting area in Newark Penn Station – while Black – and when asked to show her passenger ticket, questioning the policy – and she had transit cops called on her - AFTER presenting her monthly pass (which she pays $170 per month for.)"

She was there to document the signs now posted by NJ Transit in Penn Station saying that you can be ARRESTED and criminally PROSECUTED and removed from the station for sitting in their waiting area in one of their “rinky” waiting rooms for over an hour.

Lisa Davis is a regular – daily – user of mass transit and is in the train stations and port authority ALL THE TIME!  In fact, on September 9, 2016, I joined Lisa to purchase smoothies in one of the Newark Penn Station shops.

So yesterday, after being harassed in this way – Lisa Davis pointed out the priorities of NJ Transit.  She takes us to a train station and shows us steps covered with snow a full 24 hours after the Stella winter storm made its way through Newark.  Lisa states that earlier today – the platform itself – was covered with snow – creating a hazard in the dangerous setting where high speed trains regularly pass through and where people in all stages of life need to safely on board and depart from passenger train cars.
This kind of work – documenting these repressive stop and frisk type policies in Penn Station Newark is decarcerating work and I salute Lisa Davis in boldly standing up against these repressive policies.

Arresting weary passengers who get to the station more than an hour before their train for trying to take a load off their wary bones is just one more measure of the system’s repressive war on impoverished and working class residents and travelers.

Hats off to Lisa!

Here is her Decarcerating Street Reporting – Real News – Exposing the carceral apparatus and the role of NJ Transit in the low intensity warfare against the impoverished and working people.

The decscriptions of these videos – which were originally Facebook Live videos are taken from Lisa description on her own Facebook wall:

Part 1


PART I. NJ Transit Abuses. The NJ Transit police were called on me today (3/15/17) for attempting to walk through their waiting room in Newark, Penn Station. I questioned why I had to show a ticket to just walk across the waiting room. I couldn't believe it. But even after I showed the ticket, the police were still called. But the irony of this is that NJ Transit has mounds of snow and ice at their train platforms, at least in one Black community and sees nothing wrong with that. They don't see that as dangerous. Please see part II of this video called NJ Transit, Dangerous Steps.


Part 2


Part II, New Jersey Transit. Dangerous Steps 3/15/17. I recorded this video approximately two hours after the video of the police being called on me for simply attempting to walk across the NJ Transit waiting room in Newark, Penn Station. (Please see part I of this video where I was able to record the entire incident.) These steps are concrete. I had to walk up them earlier this morning to catch a train. They have ice and snow covered all around this train station. And they have loads of snow and ice on the train platform. The majority of the people who catch the train at this station are Black and Latino, so you know they don't rate for anything with NJ Transit.



Thank you Lisa Davis for this top notch expose on the decay of infrastructure including public transit.  I am hoping that this blog can include much more of this kind of street reporting to bring the revolutionary side of the issues to the forefront.  If you can gather this kind of information and write this kind of commentary – contact Decarc@DecarcerateNJ.org and we will set you up as a Decarca-Reporter.

Updaete from Lisa Davis, March 18:

NJ TRANSIT - RIDING THE TRAINS WHILE BLACK. Let's play a game. Can you guess which one is in the Black Community and which us in the White community. All these pictures were taken during the morning commute and the trains stop at both these stations. These stations are one stop away from each other, on the same line, and are just one minute away from each other. Really gives meaning to the wrong side of the tracks, doesn't it? These pictures are worth a thousand words, which means I'll be writing more.


Thursday, March 9, 2017

Newark VD (Vacancy Decontrol) / Rent Control Loophole On Mayor's Desk



The following note from Eric Martindale arrived in my in box from the Peoples Organization for Progress.  I pasted the letter into the group Decarcerate the Garden State on March 4.  Now it seems the measure being protested by the referenced petition has been passed by the Newark Council and is headed for possible adoption.
Sent: Saturday, March 4, 2017 11:16 AM
Subject: Please email to POP contacts --- urgent action on NEWARK RENT CONTROL
Please forward this to all of your residents and email contacts
1. Sign the Change.org petition regarding the proposed bad changes to the Newark Rent Control Ordinance
2. Please call the city council members. Emails are good, calls are better
Demand that they stop these harmful changes to Rent Control.
MAYOR & COUNCIL MEMBERS
PHONE
EMAIL
Mayor Ras J. Baraka
973-733-6400
rasjbaraka@yahoo.com
Salimu Taylor, Mayor's Assistant

taylorsa@ci.newark.nj.us
Council President Mildred Crump
973-733-8043
crumpm@ci.newark.nj.us
Councilwoman Gayle Chaneyfield-Jenkins
973-733-5870
chaneyfieldg@ci.newark.nj.us
Councilman Anibal Ramos
973-733-5136
ramosa@ci.newark.nj.us
Councilman Augusto Amador
973-733-6571
amadora@ci.newark.nj.us
Councilman John Sharpe James
973-733-3753
jamesjoh@ci.newark.nj.us
Councilman Luis Quintana
973-733-5882
quintanal@ci.newark.nj.us
Councilman Joseph McCallum
973-733-6427
mccallumjo@ci.newark.nj.us
Councilman Eddie Osborne
973-733-3794
osbornee@ci.newark.nj.us
Councilman Carlos Gonzalez
973-733-6425
gonzalezc@ci.newark.nj.us
3. PLEASE ATTEND the special Newark City Council Meeting on Tuesday, March 7, 2017 at 10:00. There will be a public hearing on the proposed Rent Control Ordinance. This has been designed as a morning meeting so that landlords, their lawyers, and their agents will be there in large numbers, while tenants are working. Everyone who can come, its important.
4. YouTube Presentation, March 1, 2017, on rent control
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5RstjUKVhk
For more information, please see www.newarktenantsunited.org

This sequence of events led to a discussion at tonight's POP meeting.

It was lamented that council members that are members, supporters and have received support from POP in the past were favorable toward this measure.

POP intends to write to Ras Baraka to state opposition. Lawrence Hamm lamented that POP had not played a more direct role speaking out against this at council meetings.

That - he said - is the kind of work POP needs to be doing.

I pointed out that POP had sent the letter out that I posted earlier.

To Jim Brash;s credit he DID take it to Ras Baraka over twitter and the mayor actually engaged Jim - but his tact was to point out that Jim is not a Newark resident.

Jimmy Brash - proponent of the Black Caucus of the Green Party simply suggested to Ras Baraka to listen to his constituency on the matter.

POP voted to send a letter to Ras Baraka opposing this measure.

Baba Zayid spoke up that Newark had voted to keep the money out of Newark - but that this shows that the money is coming in nonetheless - and decisions are being made in favor of the landlords and developers - over the tenants.

To its credit - POP had at least sent the letter out - which led to my posting it and Jim challenging Baraka over it on Twitter.

POP has a pretty consistent full court press organization on many issues but as a volunteer organization it is not staffed up to be able to fully handle the load of defending the people from the multi faceted attacks ever incoming.

Larry Addams pointed out that coordination of retirees and those out of work (or not working during the day) could get people to the 10 am during the week meetings - like the one where this landlord measure was passed.

Lawrence Hamm was not optimistic - he believes that Ras Baraka will end up signing it.


I personally would like to urge folks to contact Ras Baraka and urge him to veto this measure.  He can say he needs more time to study the matter.  While the Mayor can point out that I personally do not abide in Newark as he did with Jimmy Brash, I did attend a POP meeting which represents at least a significant constituency in Newark and am confident from their reaction to the council vote at tonight's meeting that a Baraka veto of this measure is in the best interests of the people of Newark.

The information to contact him is above.  You can also tweet him at:


@rasjbaraka

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Peaceful Pothead Prosecution Continues

March 3, 2017
Ed Forchion's message from Mercer County Correctional Facility where he is being held until: Detention Hearing scheduled 3/7/2017 1:30pm At the Mercer County Criminal Court in Trenton NJ.
This is not a Cannabis issue.....
Mercer County NJ continued its relentless attacks on Ed"NJWeedman" Forchion only this time it came 72 miles outside of Trenton in a quiet suburban neighborhood in Parsippany NJ. On Friday 3/3/2017 At approximately 12:20pm The US Marshals descended on the home Edward Forchion shares with his business partner/girlfriend Debi Madaio and her 3 children Arresting Public Enemy 420  and executed a questionable search warrant and arrest. This arrest set a new president for the NJWeedman, being his first Facebook live broadcast.  Forchion's many followers & friends, as well as law enforcement agents were able to watch it all unfold in  real time.  According to Mercer County Records, Fochion had been indicted earlier that week on 2nd and 3rd degree witness tampering 1 charge of each by publicaly naming his accuser, the Prosecutions C.I,  Zev Lapadus, and even going as far as to ask the Court to also release his name and hand over video surveillance seized in the April 2016 Raid on his infamous Trenton temple, referencing his right to face his accuser in a jury trial."I want you all to know I am a POLITICAL PRISONER ...this has nothing to do with Cannabis ..this is a Constitutional issue the right to face my accuser."    Police did not produce a search warrant, and on more than one occasion made reference to the fact that Forchion was broadcasting live on Facebook from inside the house.  The police were refused entrance inside the house by Madaio's daughter, insisting that a search warrant be produced before consent would be given allowing them to enter the home.  The police did call Debi Madaio, who was not at home at the time and told her they were looking for her daughter's boyfriend who was a fugitive.  When Madaio questioned who they were looking for, the police returned with "what kind of mother are you, you don't know who your daughters boyfriend is".  Madaio insisted that she be told who the person was that the police were there to arrest and after many threats of arresting her younger daughter for harboring a fugitive  as well has obstruction if she did not allow them access, they told her they were there to arrest Edward Forchion.  The police did not produce a search warrant, one of them pointing to a window stating "I see him in the window, that's enough probable cause for us to get a warrant". No warrant was ever produced, and Madaio's oldest daughter was told she did not need to see one. The police entered the house as Madaio's daughter begged and pleaded with them, "don't freak out my sister she is autistic, please don't scare her, please don't hurt my dogs"  Which the police replied "if you don't open the door we are going to scare the hell out of her, and we can call animal control if we have too"  The police were not given permission to enter the house, but did so anyway to find Forchion sitting on a chair in the back bedroom.  He was taken into custody without incident. Madaio states that there was a simultaneous police assault on Forchion's Temple in Trenton NJ where all of his camera and computer equipment was once again seized.  Forchion was booked into Mercer County Correctional Facility where he will remain until at least Tuesday when he will go before a judge for a Dentention Hearing this is on the personal request of Assistant Prosecutor Stephanie Katz, who was insistent Forchion should be held in custody until trial.  N.J. 'Weedman' appears before judge on witness tampering charges
Donations can be made to PayPal Address Above https://www.paypal.com   

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Decarcerate Louisiana Reaches Out to Comrades and Freedom Fighters

Greetings ____________,

We are freedom fighters incarcerated at Angola State Prison and are moving to build our organization Decarcerate Louisiana . We’re advocating for community reinvestment and not more funding into the military, police institutions, jails, and prison construction. We believe in sustainable economies, strong local communities, and that a better world is possible when we all unite for the higher good.

Taking into account our understanding of the racially charged southern strategy mapped out by the segregationist George Wallace, and then Barry Goldwater’s right-wing racial populism, Clinton’s 1994 infamous crime bill, and the 13th Amendment exception clause upholding slavery, it is evident that the prison industrial complex functions as a classist, racial caste system—a continuum of governmental attacks on African-Americans and impoverished people.

Decarcerate Louisiana is organizing to redress this injustice and to battle against systemic racism, classism, inequality, oppression, repression, criminalization and mass incarceration in our communities. We welcome your support in organizational planning and to join us in a broader effort to create an equitable and just system that works for all of us, not just some of us.

Sending light, love, and truth. All Power to the People! Please contact me at the address below.

In solidarity,

Ronald Brooks #385964
General Delivery
Louisiana State Penitentiary
Angola, LA 70712
RonaldBrooks.HumanPlight@Gmail.Com







Saturday, February 4, 2017

Decarcerate Louisiana Hand Made Card - One of the Nicest Gifts I Have Ever Received


Hand made card sent to me from inside Angola Louisiana . . . there are several very meaningful messages and it is signed by the members of Decarcerate Louisiana,

http://decarceratelouisiana.com/






THE BATTLE CRY OF DECARCERATE LOUISIANA
"THE 13TH AMENDMENT CLAUSE UPHOLDING SLAVERY IS RACIALIZED POLITICS AND SOUTHERN STRATEGY TO CRIMINALIZE BLACKS AND THE POOR!"
:WARS ON DRUGS AND POVERTY IS CLASS AND RACE WAR AGAINST BLACKS AND POOR PEOPLE!
"PRISONS FUNCTION AS A PROFIT-CENTER TO EXPLOIT, SUBJUGATE AND CONTROL BLACKS AND POOR PEOPLE!""
"CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM IS A DE FACTO SCHEME THAT OPERATES TO PERPETUATE SLAVERY!"
"YOUR RACIALIZED POLITICS BUSTED! COOPERATIVE POLITICS WE FOUND!"
"GIVE US COMMUNITY! NOT GHETTOS, SLUMS AND PRISONS!"


(names whited out)
1/29/17
Greetings Bob!  Thanks for being good and true to the struggle for peace and justice and an equitable system that works for all of us.
You have a good heart and for that we are grateful, hopeful and encouraged to go forward.
Thanks for DecarcerateNJ and The NJ Decarcerator  It's the TRUTH!
Thanks for being there and offering us support and  camaraderie.   It's because of links like you that the chain (coalition) is strong.
Also we thank all of your staff, cofounders and staff at DecarcerateNJ for spreading the word and keeping the TRUTH alive.
I encourage you all to stay connected to the sources that give us love, light and truth.  Lots f0o work to be done in the refinement of society and upliftment of mankind.  Always in friendship and solidarity, (name redacted)

1/29/17
Bob,
Brother in ARMS,
Your support speaks volumes for your character which every man is bound to respect and should emulate.  Your confidence in the movement gives an unspoken foundation of validation to push it forward toward its highest goals.  I can't thank you and other way but with the word "Love",
Your faithful brother, (name redacted)

Bob,
Though we have not met yet I have heard of your support to our struggle.  This is our way of saying Thank you Big Time.
(name redacted)


Bob,
Thank you and may God Bless you for all you do for the less fortunate!  Truly sir, you are special!
Always your friend,
(Name redacted)

BOB,
GREETINGS TO YOU COMRADE!  ANGOLA 3 DID THERE PART AND NOW Its ON us to do ours TO Bring About Immediate Change to Lousisana!!  We ARE just getting started, The World Will Feel Us Suun.  Here 4 U, Your Brother.
(name redacted)
DECARCERATELOUSIANA.COM



THE BATTLE CRY OF DECARCERATE LOUISIANA
"UNEEQUAL AND UNDERFUNDED SCHOOL DISTRICTS:MANIFESTS RACIALIZE POLITICS!"|
"GENTRIFICATION AND RENTER DISPLACEMENT IS ATTACK ON BLACK AND POOR LIVES!"
"GERRYMANDERING AND VOTER SUPPRESSION LAWS 
IS ATTACK ON BLACK AND POOR LIVES!"
"PUT A MORATORIUM ON JAIL AND PRISON CONSTRUCTION!  WE DEMAND THE RETURN OF LBJ'S 'GREAT SOCIETY'!"
"END SOLITARY CONFINEMENT, PRISONER DEGRADATION AND THE PROFIT MOTIVE OF STATE MANAGED PRISON FARM LABOR!"

Bob,

Thank you for your loyalty, commitment, sacrifices and contributions to the struggle.
You truly are a blessing to all of us and we are more than honored to call you our brother from another mother.
You are appreciated.


Sunday, January 22, 2017

Proposal: Decarcerate the Garden State to Support Millions for Prisoners August 19 March on Washington

Proposed Course of Action for Decarcerate the Garden State 2017

NJ is fortunate that Jennifer McClendon millionsforprisonersnj@gmail.com  has stepped forward to volunteer for a coordinating role in the to be historic Millions for Prisoners March on August 19. 2017.


I propose as a project for January through August for Decarcerate the Garden State that we partner with this national effort – which is supported by many of the “inside” organizations of incarcerated men and women – toward making it a success.

Specifically I propose:

A series of events all over NJ – primarily in the “cities” and areas of the state that are targeted by the mass incarceration due to racial and economic demographics – to promote the goals of Decarcerate the Garden State and the Million Prisoners March.

That we begin communicating to all of the organizations and organizers of the state the details of the planned national march.

That we offer to join Jennifer McClendon and the Million Prisoners March movement in a letter calling upon organizations and individuals to participate.

That we begin the process now of determining the means to provide economic means to get into DC on August 19th.  We begin to reach out to Church organizations and other institutions that might own or have access to buses and vans. 

That we set up fundraising to provide funded seats to make participation accessible to the communities that are directly impacted (that have a tendency to be impoverished).

That we have an initial meeting at a time that Jennifer McClendon can participate in Newark, NJ – perhaps as an agenda item with Peoples Organization for Progress and from there we set up semi-weekly or weekly phone conferencing.

That we begin to identify organizers around NJ that can assist by setting up an event in their community around the issues of mass incarceration, enslavement of the incarcerated, the 13th amendment, NJ’s racial disparities in incarceration and participation in the national August 19th Millions for Prisoners March demanding the Amendment of the 13th – to remove the exclusion of the incarcerated from the ban of enslavement in the US.

Production of a new issue of NJ Decarcerator highlighting the march and our other NJ work.

To support this effort and second the motion and vote in its favor, write to Decarc@DecarcerateNJ.org and / or participate in the Facebook discussion on this topic in our group:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/DecarcerateNJ  

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Gov. Christie’s State of the State Ignores Drug Criminalization as Driver of “Addiction Epidemic”




Gov. Christie’s State of the State Ignores Drug Criminalization as Driver of “Addiction Epidemic”

Governor Christie’s 2017 State of the State Address was missing one factual item: The role of drug criminalization in creating what the Governor called an “Addiction Epidemic.” The speech, which was heavy on drug-war fear rhetoric, grossly exaggerated the “addiction epidemic” while ignoring the role of the state’s own policies in creating the nightmare scenarios Governor Christie described in visceral.
The absence of any recognition of the role of drug criminalization is alarming, considering that prohibition policy is creating many of the issues he wants to address. In addition, the role of prescription drugs in causing the initial transition to illicit drugs seems to be based on anecdotes rather than facts. Blaming anyone involved in the drug use cycle, even our doctors, is required doctrine to avoid admitting that prohibition policy is largely responsible for social service deficits, drug overdoses and many of the harms his proposals seek to save people from.
Exaggerating the “Addiction Epidemic”
The Governor claimed the drug epidemic is “more urgent than any other epidemic” due to 1,600 overdose deaths in 2015 in New Jersey. While tragic, this fact is grossly out of context as in 2009 more than 1,900 people died in New Jersey from diabetes alone. Nationally, 1,300 people die each day from cigarette use. This misleading visceral is necessary for the continuation of failed Drug War tactics such as drug criminalization and forced treatment. The Governor’s misleading statistics also ignore the fact that overdoses are counted more than once by the Office of the State Medical Examiner when more than one drug is present in the deceased.
Prohibition is Causing Overdose Deaths
Fentanyl deaths are a direct result of drug criminalization. Using substances that are legal, illegal or prescribed, all carry potential consequences. However, making drugs illegal adds risk due to non-regulation of the drugs. Unregulated drugs mean, the people consuming them wont know the purity of them or if they contain adulterants like Fentanyl. In one year 2013 – 2014 illicit fentanyl deaths rose 115% in Florida and 526% in Ohio. New Jersey’s Fentanyl deaths rose more than 300% in that same time period. To be clear, so long as NJ makes the same policy decisions to criminalize personal drug use, this will be a growing problem. Dozens of countries have had exceptional results reducing mortality and improving social outcomes by offering regulated heroin to people who already have a heroin use disorder and have failed regular treatment.
Prohibition is a Barrier to Treatment
Governor Christie spoke of removing barriers to treatment. Viewing treatment, as a significant solution is problematic as nearly 40% of people discharged from treatment in NJ, stated that they did not partially achieve their goal and nearly one in four people were still actively using drugs/alcohol at discharge, according to the 2015 NJ Substance Abuse Monitoring System. Even more concerning is that drug overdose deaths are the 3rd leading cause of death inside NJ’s drug rehab programs according to the New Jersey Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services. Because NJ has the most regressive compulsory drug court system, those people forced into treatment slots, many of which have no interest in treatment, take up space while those who want treatment are turned away. This is with the knowledge that compulsory treatment is less effective and often harmful when compared to voluntary treatment. Decriminalizing drug use will open a significant number of treatment slots in addition to not squandering resources. Simply appropriating more money to treatment providers, allows them to continually drug-war profiteer by trapping people in their programs while not addressing the deficit.
Prescription Drug Reality
The majority of people who use prescription drugs do so without any complications. Furthermore, the Governor’s proposal to have Attorney General Porrino issue an emergency rule limiting the initial supply of opioids to 5 days down from a 30 day supply. This constant barrage on prescription pills will have negative consequences as people with substance use disorder histories already face discrimination in receiving appropriate pain management as recognized by the World Health Organization. Not receiving medically appropriate pain management can jeopardize a person’s recovery. Lastly, it is well established that 75% of the people using prescription opiates for non-medical purposes get them from other sources than doctors so restricting genuinely needed practice will not address this issue (SAMHSA).
Forcing Criminal Justice Interaction
Most people arrested for drug possession have committed no harm to person or property and would not be involved in the criminal justice system if not for prohibition policy. In 2014 New Jersey arrested more than 42,000 people for drug possession alone. Exposure to the criminal justice system for drug use is intentionally harmful and carries severe risk exposure. The recent case of Katie Lee Thomas is a harrowing example as she was arrested for simple drug paraphernalia and found dead in a jail cell a few hours later in Neptune Township. Investing in community education and engagement on this issue would be a more effective measure while continuing non-coercive medicine drop-offs.
Help Not Handcuffs takes Governor Christie at his word that he will “accept ideas from any corner of the state” and we call on him to truly treat drug use as any other health issue meaning there would be no arrest and no forced treatment. This would require ending the harmful drug prohibitions via decriminalization, ending forced treatment and considering effective regulation of substances.

Randy Thompson
Help Not Handcuffs