Yes, I work in a law firm which handles appellate defense/post conviction cases. All my clients are in prison. All are indigent, most are addicts, many have untreated mental health issues. And almost all will likely never get out and yes, some for a FIRST offense, the sentencing laws where I live and work are some of the harshest in the US, and overall, the US is harsher than ANY other westernized nation.
I believe the streets would be safer with access to mental health treatment for all, access to health care for all, real treatment options for people with addictions, a focus and system designed for rehabilitation RATHER than retribution. I will likely be called out again for writing about more than smoking, but I really don't care. So yes, even IF they are guilty I do not support throwing them away AND failing to treat the illness behind the actions.
Once again, I spoke directly about meth/coke, etc because, someone asked me if I would be in favor of legalizing those substances. I responded. It's personal to me too, my oldest daughter is a recovering meth addict. She is not now, and never was, lazy or worthless or any of the other things ranted about. She made mistakes and poor choices which resulted in her becoming addicted. She's been clean now for 3 years. However, I shudder when I think about her running into people with the type of attitudes I've been reading. I sincerely hope she is never subjected to them because she should be proud of what she has accomplished.
I don't know what I've said that would cause anyone to think I have ANY prejudice against ANYONE who lived on welfare...do you even know how much that is and what the requirements are?? I don't know for sure, but I do know that people on it barely survive and I absolutely do not want to say anything that would cause people to think I judge them because they are impoverished. I am the LAST person who would have any right to judge anyone living in poverty.
And, finally, I could make a similar argument about the prosecutors that I run up against now and before, who cheat the system over and over again to get their conviction (we have one here, she was just kicked off a death penalty case for her ethical violations, and that's just in the case where she got CAUGHT). THAT makes me more sick because there is NO excuse....those people simply abuse the system just cause they can.