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Illinois Drug War Facts

Drug War Facts


85% of Illinois voters support treatment instead of prison for non-violent drug offenders

A 2002 telephone survey of 500 Illinois voters found overwhelming support for treatment over the criminal justice approach to drug addiction. 

Source: Press Release, Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association, September 25, 2002.




Illinois tops nation in racially disproportionate incarceration of drug offenders

In Illinois, African-Americans comprise 90% of drug offenders admitted into prison, making the state the worst offender in the national scandal of racial disparities in drug offender incarceration.  While rates of illegal drug involvement cut fairly evenly across racial lines, a black man in Illinois is 57 times more likely to be sent to prison on drug charges than a white man.

Source: Human Rights Watch, Punishment and Prejudice, Racial Disparities in the War on Drugs, May 2000



Racial profiling a reality in Illinois

"Evidence developed in the ACLU's lawsuit charging the Illinois State Police's drug interdiction unit with racial profiling [Chavez v. Illinois State Police] demonstrates that Hispanics comprise less than 8 percent of the Illinois population (and take fewer than 3 percent of the personal vehicle trips in the state), and yet comprise approximately 30 percent of the motorists stopped by ISP drug interdiction units over a five-year period for discretionary offenses (including failure to signal a lane change or driving one to four miles above the posted speed limit).

"Evidence from the same lawsuit shows that although African-Americans comprise only 24 percent of the population in Cook County, they were targeted for 63 percent of all vehicle searches conducted by ISP drug interdiction officers in the County over a four-year period."

Source: American Civil Liberties Union, Press release, January, 2000



Automatic tranfers target minority youth

Of the 259 juveniles in Illinois automatically tranferred to adult court for a drug crime in 2000, all but one were minorities.

Source: The State Journal-Register, May 17, 2001


Governor grew hemp

Richard J. Oglesby, the fourteenth Governor of Illinois, as a young man raised hemp in Macon County and converted it into rope one summer in the early 1840s.

Source: Mostly Good and Competent Men, Illinois Governors 1818-1988 by Robert P. Howard, 1988.