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Drugs and the Law

In response to:

The New Mafia from the December 3, 1992 issue

To the Editors:

Allow me to offer one correction to Michael Massing’s friendly critique of my book Against Excess [NYR, December 3, 1992]. It does not propose an expansion of drug law enforcement. Rather it suggests that an expansion of total enforcement, especially non-prison corrections, is necessary to avoid the effective decriminalization of progressively more serious varieties of predatory crime due to the enforcement burden created by the drug trade.

Mark Kleiman
Harvard University
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Michael Massing replies:

Mark Kleiman does propose an expansion of total enforcement, but, in his view, this would bring about an expansion in drug enforcement as well. As he writes in a section titled “The Case for More Law Enforcement of All Kinds”: “One way to relax the tension between drug law enforcement and enforcement directed at predatory crimes would be to add to the total law enforcement budget in order to have more of both.”

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