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  1. Image of UN Flag

    UN expert calls for a fundamental shift in global drug control policy

    26 October 2010
    Article

    At a press conference in New York on Tuesday 26 October, 2010, at the 65th session of the United Nations General Assembly, one of the UN’s key human rights experts will call for a fundamental rethink of international drug policy. Anand Grover, from India, is the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right of Everyone to the Highest Attainable Standard of Physical and Mental Health, whose mandate is derived from the UN Human Rights Council.

  2. Expert Seminar on Proportionality of Sentencing for Drug Offences

    20 May 2011
    Report

    There has in recent years been a renewed interest in the principle of proportionality in sentencing policy for drug offences. There has been official analysis of the issue by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) and several national initiatives that have inscribed a requirement for proportionality when sentencing in statute or penal code, asserted it through the courts, or, as with the UK Consultation on sentencing for drug offences by the Sentencing Council of England and Wales, are continuing to explore the concept through policy processes.

     

  3. Obama calls for shorter sentences for nonviolent convicts

    13 July 2015
    Other news

    Calling it an issue America can’t afford to ignore, President Barack Obama laid out an expansive vision for fixing the criminal justice system. “In far too many cases, the punishment simply doesn’t fit the crime,” Obama told a crowd of 3,300 in Philadelphia. Low-level drug dealers, for example, owe a debt to society, but not a life sentence or 20-year prison term, he said. The United States needed to reevaluate an “aspect of American life that remains particularly skewed by race and by wealth.” Working in Obama’s favor: tentative but optimistic signs of common ground between Republicans and Democrats. (See also: President Obama for the prisoners)

  4. women-prisons

    Cause for Alarm

    • Eka Iakobishvili
    04 April 2012

    The new report is the first to calculate the total number of females in prisons on drug offences in Europe and Central Asia. It provides an analysis of developments related to women drug offending and the criminal justice system in Europe and Central Asia, and also largely focuses on numbers of women convicted for drug offending (violation of drug laws) that are in prisons.

     

  5. Sentencing for Drug Offences

    01 March 2010

    In determining the seriousness of a drug offence the courts should focus on the quantity of the drug involved (or the scale of the operation) and the role of the offender; the Panel advises a starting point of 12 years custody for the most serious cases. Offences will be aggravated where offenders used a young person as a courier, supplied or offered to supply close to schools, targeted premises used by vulnerable people or supplied to prisoners.

     

  6. Disproportionate penalties for drug offenses in Mexico

    Catalina Pérez Correa, Kristel Mucino
    11 November 2012
    Article

    The story of the Mexican drug war has generally focused on the violence perpetrated by drug cartels and the apparent inability to bring so many criminals to justice. Unfortunately—while it’s true many have evaded justice—there remain many more people who use drugs and those with very low levels of involvement in the drug trade, who have been swept up in recent crackdowns.

  7. Pardon for Mules in Ecuador

    17 February 2009
    Article

    At the end of 2008, about 1,500 persons were released who were in Ecuadorian prisons sentenced for drug trafficking. The measure, known as “pardon for mules,” singled out a specific group of prisoners who were victims of indiscriminate and disproportionate legislation that was in effect for many years. Although with this measure, the Government of Rafael Correa took an important step in the process of reforming draconian legislation regarding controlled substances in his country, it is still to be completed with new legislation.

    Read the new briefing: Pardon for Mules in Ecuador, a Sound Proposal, Series on Legislative Reform of Drug Policies Nr. 1, Transnational Institute/Washington Office on Latin America, February 2009

  8. Drug guidelines suggest lighter sentences for 'social dealers'

    24 January 2012
    Other news

    Recreational drug users who naively buy small quantities to share with their friends could avoid jail under sentencing guidelines for drug offences. The sentencing council also spells out explicitly, for the first time, that the medical use of cannabis for serious conditions should be recognised by the courts as a mitigating factor when sentencing offenders. The official guidance for the courts, which comes into force next month, also recommends a less draconian approach to the sentencing of "drug mules". (See also: Response from IDPC to the Sentencing Council for England and Wales Consultation on the Drug Offences Guideline)

  9. On the death penalty for drugs

    02 March 2015
    Other news

    The Annual Report of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), released today, calls upon States that ‘continue to impose the death penalty for drug-related offences to consider abolishing the death penalty for such offences’.

  10. Drug experts plead for a better way

    17 May 2015
    Other news

    In an Alternative Drugs and Addiction Report, experts have warned politicians that current laws on dangerous drugs are doing more harm than good in Germany. 

  11. The Death Penalty for Drug Offences

    • Patrick Gallahue, Ricky Gunawan, Fifa Rahman, Karim El Mufti, Najam U Din, Rita Felten
    19 November 2012

    Executions for drug offences have escalated in countries such as Iran and Saudi Arabia against a trend towards abolition globally, reveals a new Harm Reduction International (HRI) report The Death Penalty for Drug Offences, Global Overview 2012: Tipping the Scales for Abolition. The report reveals that over 540 people were executed for drug offences in Iran in 2011, a trend that continues in 2012 and represents a five-fold increase since 2008. At least 16 people were executed for drugs in Saudi Arabia in the first six months of 2012, compared with one person in 2011.

     

  12. Mandatory Minimum Sentences for Drug Offences

    01 April 2006

    The use of illegal drugs is often associated with a wide range of health, social and community problems, substantial drug-related crime, and stigma and marginalization of people who use drugs. In response, policy-makers have relied heavily on law enforcement, despite evidence that certain law enforcement practices actually worsen the impact of drug use on individuals and communities, and sometimes lead to human rights violations.

     

  13. The punishment must fit the crime, even for drug users

    Gino Vumbaca
    02 November 2011
    Other news

    The case of the Australian boy arrested on drug charges in Bali offers the opportunity to review our nation's own response to drug use, both here and abroad. While empathy for the boy's family is warranted and genuine, the case should also raise the question of what would happen to someone in Australia caught with a similar small amount of cannabis or other illicit drug.

  14. Which countries have the death penalty for drug smuggling?

    27 April 2015
    Other news

    Indonesia executed eight convicted drug traffickers. The sentences have provoked outrage from the prisoners’ home countries, none of which hands down the death penalty to drug offenders. Brazil and the Netherlands had already withdrawn their ambassadors, following an earlier round of executions in January. Indonesia is rare in executing drug smugglers, who in most of the world are condemned only to long stretches in prison. Where else does trafficking earn a death sentence?

  15. Sentencing for Drug Offences in England and Wales

    • Genevieve Harris
    09 June 2010

    Sentencing for drug offences in England and Wales has recently undergone a wide-sweeping review and public consultation. The purpose of this report is to examine and evaluate this mechanism for law reform, without the need for legislative reform, and to consider the specific discussion around sentencing for drug offences which it has led to.

     

  16. Technical Report on Alternatives to Incarceration for Drug-Related Offenses

    22 April 2015
    Report

    Convinced that responses to the drug problem should be comprehensive, centering on public health and human rights perspectives, the Government of Colombia, with the support of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD), is committed to encouraging the debate on alternatives which allow for a focus on the individual, moving beyond approaches solely based on repression.

  17. tni-wola-idpc

    Response from IDPC to the Sentencing Council for England and Wales Consultation on the Drug Offences Guideline

    • Mike Trace
    01 June 2011

    The Sentencing Council for England and Wales initiated a consultation process in order to produce definitive sentencing guidelines for drugs offences for the UK in the future. In order to feed into this process, IDPC, in collaboration with TNI, held an Expert seminar on proportionality in sentencing for drug offences, on 20th May 2011, in London, UK. The seminar was an important gathering of international experts on the subject of proportionality and provided a space for fruitful and in depth discussions on sentencing experiences from around the world. A draft report of the meeting was sent to the Sentencing Council as part of the consultation process on 20th June.

     

  18. End the War on Drugs

    02 June 2011
    Article

    On June 2, 2011, the Global Commission on Drug Policy presented its report in New York, calling to break the taboo on debate and reform of international drug control policies. The high-profile panel calls the global war on drugs a failure and recommends a paradigm shift towards harm reduction, decriminalization and legal regulation of cannabis. TNI has been closely involved in the initiative and its Latin American predecessor in an advisory capacity. Martin Jelsma of TNI’s drugs policy programme wrote a background paper for the Commission’s meeting in Geneva earlier this year: The development of international drug control: lessons learned and strategic challenges for the future.

  19. Drug Decriminalization: A Trend Takes Shape

    Coletta Youngers, John Walsh
    21 September 2009
    Article

    The trend of "drug decriminalization" is quickly taking shape in Latin America. Increasingly, many countries are leaning toward decriminalization as an alternative approach, hoping that it will be effective both in reducing consumption and dealing with associated health problems.

  20. Right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health

    • Anand Grover, UN Special Rapporteur for the occupied Palestinian territories
    06 August 2010

    The current international system of drug control has focused on creating a drug-free world, almost exclusively through use of law enforcement policies and criminal sanctions. Mounting evidence, however, suggests this approach has failed, primarily because it does not acknowledge the realities of drug use and dependence. While drugs may have a pernicious effect on individual lives and society, this excessively punitive regime has not achieved its stated public health goals, and has resulted in countless human rights violations.

     

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