FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Ordeal of Cameron Douglas

by ANTHONY PAPA

Who benefits from Cameron Douglas getting at least 10 years in prison? No one does. But the government is hell bent on punishing him for the crime of being an addict.

Cameron – the son of Academy Award winner Michael Douglas – took a guilty plea this week for dealing drugs that will land him in prison for at least 10 years to a maximum of life. This stems from a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigation based on information from unidentified informants who were methamphetamine users and drug dealers. In other words, these rats gave Cameron up to save their own hides. In exchange for agreeing to be cooperating witnesses against Cameron, they were allowed to plead guilty to lesser charges.

I am mad has hell! Why? In the 1980s, I faced a similar fate that led to my 15-to-life sentence for a first time, nonviolent drug sale in New York. So I know too well the routine the DEA went through to rope Cameron into a corner forcing him to take a plea deal. They scared the living crap out of him, telling him he would never see the light of day if he went to trial. Why would anyone in their right mind plead out to a ten year minimum sentence? In the U.S., this type of behavior is standard in procuring drug convictions of low level drug offenders who wind up doing more time than a murderer or rapist.

I talked to a good friend of Cameron Douglas who told me he was a drug addict who has been hooked on heroin for the last several years. Why else would he compel his girlfriend to bring over a toothbrush containing 20 bags of dope while he was under house arrest several months ago? He needs drug treatment not a decade or more of hard time in prison.

The U.S. is obsessed with punishing individuals like Cameron. I think the imprisonment of Cameron is immoral and counterproductive to public safety. By locking up Cameron and those like him, our government is wasting resources that could otherwise be used to stop violent crime.

Today, there are over 500,000 Americans locked up for nonviolent drug law violations. The cost of incarcerating such individuals is draining state and federal budgets and producing idiotic solutions by politicians to make up for its burgeoning costs – like the recent cuts in health care, education, and other social service programs.

It will cost tax payers an estimated $45,000 a year to keep him in prison. His family and friends will no doubt mourn their loss while Cameron rots away in a federal prison for being a nonviolent drug addict.

Should we treat drug addiction as a criminal matter or a medical problem? For most people, treatment is much more effective way to overcome addiction, yet our prisons are full of drug addicted individuals. Nonviolent drug offenders should be given an opportunity to receive treatment, not jail time, for their drug use. This would be a more effective and much more affordable solution for the individual and the community.

Thanks to the war on drugs, and especially mandatory minimum sentencing policies, average drug offenders like Cameron Douglas are sentenced to extraordinary amounts of time in prison. We need to end these draconian drug laws by offering drug-addicted individuals treatment instead of prison.

ANTHONY PAPA is the author of 15 Years to Life: How I Painted My Way to Freedom and Communications Specialist for Drug Policy Alliance. He can be reached at: anthonypapa123@yahoo.com

 

More articles by:

Anthony Papa is the Manager of Media and Artist Relations for the Drug Policy Alliance and the author of This Side of Freedom: Life After Lockdown.

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

June 27, 2017
Jim Kavanagh
California Scheming: Democrats Betray Single-Payer Again
Jonathan Cook
Hersh’s New Syria Revelations Buried From View
Edward Hunt
Excessive and Avoidable Harm in Yemen
Howard Lisnoff
The Death of Democracy Both Here and Abroad and All Those Colorful Sneakers
Gary Leupp
Immanuel Kant on Electoral Interference
Kenneth Surin
Theresa May and the Tories are in Freefall
Slavoj Zizek
Get the Left
Robert Fisk
Saudi Arabia Wants to Reduce Qatar to a Vassal State
Ralph Nader
Driverless Cars: Hype, Hubris and Distractions
Rima Najjar
Palestinians Are Seeking Justice in Jerusalem – Not an Abusive Life-Long Mate
Norman Solomon
Is ‘Russiagate’ Collapsing as a Political Strategy?
Binoy Kampmark
In the Twitter Building: Tech Incubators and Altering Perceptions
Dean Baker
Uber’s Repudiation is the Moment for the U.S. to Finally Start Regulating the So-called Sharing Economy
Rob Seimetz
What I Saw From The Law
George Wuerthner
The Causes of Forest Fires: Climate vs. Logging
June 26, 2017
William Hawes – Jason Holland
Lies That Capitalists Tell Us
Chairman Brandon Sazue
Out of the Shadow of Custer: Zinke Proves He’s No “Champion” of Indian Country With his Grizzly Lies
Patrick Cockburn
Grenfell Tower: the Tragic Price of the Rolled-Back Stat
Joseph Mangano
Tritium: Toxic Tip of the Nuclear Iceberg
Ray McGovern
Hersh’s Big Scoop: Bad Intel Behind Trump’s Syria Attack
Roy Eidelson
Heart of Darkness: Observations on a Torture Notebook
Geoff Beckman
Why Democrats Lose: the Case of Jon Ossoff
Matthew Stevenson
Travels Around Trump’s America
David Macaray
Law Enforcement’s Dirty Little Secret
Colin Todhunter
Future Shock: Imagining India
Yoav Litvin
Animals at the Roger Waters Concert
Binoy Kampmark
Pride in San Francisco
Stansfield Smith
North Koreans in South Korea Face Imprisonment for Wanting to Return Home
Hamid Yazdan Panah
Remembering Native American Civil Rights Pioneer, Lehman Brightman
James Porteous
Seventeen-Year-Old Nabra Hassanen Was Murdered
Weekend Edition
June 23, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Democrats in the Dead Zone
Gary Leupp
Trump, Qatar and the Danger of Total Confusion
Andrew Levine
The “Democracies” We Deserve
Jeffrey St. Clair - Joshua Frank
The FBI’s “Operation Backfire” and the Case of Briana Waters
Rob Urie
Cannibal Corpse
Joseph G. Ramsey
Savage Calculations: On the Exoneration of Philando Castile’s Killer
John Wight
Trump’s Attack on Cuba
Dave Lindorff
We Need a Mass Movement to Demand Radical Progressive Change
Brian Cloughley
Moving Closer to Doom
David Rosen
The Sex Offender: the 21st Century Witch
John Feffer
All Signs Point to Trump’s Coming War With Iran
Jennifer L. Lieberman
What’s Really New About the Gig Economy?
Pete Dolack
Analyzing the Failures of Syriza
Vijay Prashad
The Russian Nexus
Mike Whitney
Putin Tries to Avoid a Wider War With the US
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail