Obama Talks Drug Policy Reform with The Wire Creator

Obama Talks Drug Policy Reform with The Wire Creator

By May Wilkerson 03/31/15

The Wire creator and President Obama sat down for an eye-opening discussion about the War on Drugs.

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President Barack Obama
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Barack Obama addressed the devastating impact of the drug war on the U.S. economy in a recent interview with the creator of The Wire, David Simon. 

“What drugs don't destroy, the war against them is ripping apart,” said Simon in the interview, released last week.

The hit HBO series offers a raw and rarely seen glimpse into the effects of drug criminalization on the streets of Baltimore in the early 2000s. POTUS is apparently a fan, calling the show "one of the greatest pieces of art in the last couple of decades.”

In the interview, Obama focused on the economic problems the drug war has created, saying mass incarceration is “breaking the bank.” 

He pointed out that people go to prison on the state’s dollar and "many times [are] trained to become more hardened criminals while in prison, come out and are basically unemployable and end up looping back in" to the prison system.

"When you break down why people aren't getting back into the labor force, even as jobs are being created, a big chunk of that is the young male population with felony histories," said Obama. "So now where we have the opportunity to give them a pathway toward a responsible life, they're foreclosed. And that's counterproductive."

The result, he said, is a hike in taxes and "services are being squeezed." 

Though more Republicans are coming around to a softer-on-crime approach in recent years, the Obama administration continues to face pushback from lawmakers who support harsh sentencing for drug offenders.

As Obama states in the interview, significant reform will require the support of Congress. But his administration has made major strides, including reducing prison sentences for non-violent drug offenders and backing off various states’ moves to legalize and decriminalize marijuana.

Check out the interview below: 

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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/ @alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.

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