Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, is doubling down on his plan to not send any suspect convicted of drug possession to prison, instead offering a vague plan wherein they will seek treatment services.
During a Fox News Sunday interview with Chris Wallace, Buttigieg reiterated that he will, as president, decriminalize all drug possession — indicating that the thousands of drug traffickers who plead down to possession of drugs every year would never have to spend a day in prison for their crimes.
The exchange went as follows:
WALLACE: You not only want to decriminalize marijuana, you want to decriminalize all drug possession. You say that the better answer … is rather treatment, not incarceration. But isn’t the fact that it’s illegal to have, possess meth and heroin, doesn’t that in some way — the fact that it’s illegal — act as a deterrent to actually trying it in the first place.
BUTTIGIEG: Well, I think the main thing that we should focus on is distribution and the harm that’s done there. Yes, of course it’s important that it remain illegal.
WALLACE: But you would decriminalize it, so it wouldn’t be illegal.
BUTTIGIEG: Possession should not be dealt with through incarceration.
WALLACE: But you would say that possession is not going to be illegal.
BUTTIGIEG: Is not going to be dealt with through incarceration.
WALLACE: But your website says decriminalize.
BUTTIGIEG: Yes, or it could be a misdemeanor. The point is, not the legal niceties, the point is we have learned through 40 years of a failed war on drugs that criminalizing addiction doesn’t work. Not only that, the incarceration does more harm than the offense it’s intended to deal with. This is not saying that these substances are okay, it’s saying that when somebody develops that kind of addiction, throwing them in jail or being in a situation where jail is the closest thing they’ll ever get to in-patient treatment, shows a profound failure in our country’s mental health and addiction treatment system. And I don’t think that comes as a surprise.
On his website, Buttigieg writes that he will “decriminalize all drug possession” to fight the nation’s opioid crisis wherein drug overdoses are killing an unprecedented 72,000 U.S. residents every year — nearly three times the number of individuals killed by global terrorism and 10,000 more than the number of Americans killed in the Vietnam War.
The Buttigieg plan would potentially free 74,000 drug offenders from federal prison, nearly 100 percent of whom are drug traffickers with links to international criminal cartels. Those accused of drug trafficking often plead down to drug possession to secure lesser sentences.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.