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Thread: Michael Douglas' son Cameron pens drug policy critique from jail

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    Default Michael Douglas' son Cameron pens drug policy critique from jail

    Michael Douglas' son Cameron pens drug policy critique from jail: 'I seem to be trapped in a vicious cycle of relapse and repeat'

    The 34-year-old, who is serving 9 and a half years in prison for drug violations, criticized the system that locked him up for imposing harsh penalties on addicts rather than encouraging treatment.

    Comments (1)BY MARGARET EBY / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

    TUESDAY, JUNE 11, 2013, 4:40 PM


    CHRIS PIZZELLO/AP

    Cameron Douglas, son of actor Michael Douglas, published an essay from jail decrying U.S. drug policy.




    Cameron Douglas, the troubled son of veteran actor Michael Douglas, opened up about his difficulties with drugs in an essay that criticized the penal system for punishing rather than treating fellow addicts.

    Douglas, 34, is currently in lockup, serving a nine-and-a-half-year sentence for several nonviolent drug violations.

    "I'm not saying that I didn't deserve to be punished, or that I'm worthy of special treatment," Douglas wrote for The Huffington Post.

    "However, I seem to be trapped in a vicious cycle of relapse and repeat, as most addicts are. Unfortunately, whereas the effective remedy for relapse should be treatment, the penal system's 'answer' is to lock the door and throw away the key."

    After initially being arrested in 2010 on methamphetamine-selling charges, Douglas had his sentence nearly doubled for attaining drugs while in prison.

    FRED PROUSER/REUTERS

    Michael Douglas came to his son's defense in an interview in May. "I believe, because of his late name, he's been an example," he said.


    "I have spent close to two of my four years of incarceration in solitary confinement," Douglas wrote. "There are half a million other people in the U.S. who, like me, will go to sleep behind bars tonight because of nothing more than a drug law violation….this outdated system pays little, if any concern to the disease of addiction, and instead punishes it more harshly than many violent crimes."

    "Instead of focusing on how many individuals this country can keep imprisoned," he continued, "Why can we not focus on how many individuals we can keep from coming back?"

    Douglas lost his appeal against the extended prison term in April, and is currently scheduled for release in 2018.

    Douglas' father, Michael, opened up to New York Magazine in May about his son's prison term.

    "I have gone from being a very disappointed but loving father who felt his son got what was due him to realizing that Lady Justice's blindfold is really slipping," the "Behind the Candelabra" actor said. "I'm not defending Cameron as a drug dealer or drug addict, but I believe, because of his late name, he's been an example."



    Read more: Michael Douglas' son Cameron pens drug policy critique from jail: 'I seem to be trapped in a vicious cycle of relapse and repeat' - NY Daily News


    ************************************************** *****************************
    Here is the blog written for the Huffington Post

    Cameron Douglas

    Actor


    Well, let me start by saying that I appreciate the opportunity to share some of my thoughts and feelings with you. I hope maybe in some way, this gives you a little window into my reality and more importantly, into my heart.

    So, here I sit at my little table in the belly of the beast, writing to you. I have spent close to two of my four years of incarceration in solitary confinement. If this seems like a long time, it is magnified in light of the fact that my time spent in the box is largely due to two dirty urines -- one of which was false, which is a story for another time. For the other, I was alsogiven an additional 4.5 years on top of my initial five-year sentence, as if 11 straight months in segregation, locked down 23 hours a day, was not enough.

    The bigger picture is much more disturbing, however. There are half a million other people in the U.S. who, like me, will go to sleep behind bars tonight because of nothing more than a drug law violation. Our prisons are filled with non-violent drug offenders who are losing much of what is relevant in life. This outdated system pays little, if any, concern to the disease of addiction, and instead punishes it more harshly than many violent crimes. And even more exasperating is that many of the people responsible for this tragedy disregard documented medical research and the reality of our country's unsustainable prison overpopulation.

    Why... ? I'm sure I'll be terrified by the answer. However, I humbly propose we start seeking the truth.

    I'm not saying that I didn't deserve to be punished, or that I'm worthy of special treatment. I made mistakes and I'll gladly and openly admit my faults. However, I seem to be trapped in a vicious cycle of relapse and repeat, as most addicts are. Unfortunately, whereas the effective remedy for relapse should be treatment, the penal system's "answer" is to lock the door and throw away the key.

    Somehow, with the astronomical rate of recidivism, largely due to drug violations, no one seems to comprehend that tossing individuals desperate for skills to cope with addiction behind bars, no matter for how long a period of time, does absolutely nothing but temporarily deter them from succumbing to their weakness. Instead of focusing on how many individuals this county can keep imprisoned, why can we not focus on how many individuals we can keep from coming back?

    As for now, I can only hope that the educated, just, and decent men and women who hold positions of influence will find the courage to fight for change because they understand what is inherently right. In doing so, they will start gaining the support necessary to begin breaking these malignant molds that are such a detriment to our society and culture as a whole.

    I guess that's enough about that from me for now. Thank you for bearing with me, and I apologize if I come across as ranting. I've had more than my fair share of time to ponder the issue, and only mean to stimulate some thought on the topic.

    Nevertheless, I feel thoroughly blessed. I have a beautiful and loving family who has faithfully supported me every step of the way, believing in me and refusing to give up in the face of one bleak adversity after the next.

    However, through these obstacles and carrying with me this love, I have managed to build a strong faith, and I feel in the deepest recesses of my heart that there is a beautiful purpose hidden along this painful journey. And no matter what my surroundings or conditions, I am determined to find within myself the design for which I was born, and by doing so, fulfill my humble part in this extraordinary existence. Maybe one day, my family, my future children, and whomever I have the privilege of coming to know, will be able to regard me as a man who endeavored to leave this planet just a little better than the way I found it.

    Cameron Morrell Douglas was born in 1978 into an American dynasty, 3rd generation of the legendary Douglas acting family. Accomplished DJ and budding actor, Douglas starred alongside father, Michael, and grandparents, Kirk and Diana, in the 2003 film 'It Runs In the Family,' and played the lead role in National Lampoon's 'Adam and Eve.' In 2009, Douglas was arrested by the DEA for large-scale narcotics distribution, and received a 5 year sentence. In 2011, Douglas was brought back before the judge, and was given an additional 4.5 years- the longest-ever sentence imposed for obtaining a small amount of drugs in prison for personal use. Although the sentence was challenged due to its extreme harshness, the appeal was lost. Douglas has vowed to bring attention to the mistreatment of non-violent drug offenders and plans to found a non-profit to help the nation's troubled youth. Douglas' expected release date is in 2018.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/camero...&ir=New%20York
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    I'm glad that he's taking responsibility for his actions and agree that there should be more to address the issue of addicts in prison. I wish him the best of luck in his recovery.
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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    Yes, to treatment over punishment. But this kid isn't really a good example of the draconian drug laws. He had a sweetheart deal- that few others would have gotten- and blew it.



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    It doesn't really seem like he's truly taking his lumps. He still seems to be whining, with his "nothing more than a drug violation" BS. Whether you agree with the laws or not, you either follow them or you land your ass in jail. It's that simple, no matter how inconsequential you think your crime may be. It's really not hard to not break laws.

    I don't know, I'm usually more compassionate, and of course addiction is a horrible disease that demands real treatment if the sufferer is to have any hope of turning it around. But I guess I've had my fill lately of people blaming everyone and everything for the predicament they're in, instead of really taking a good long look in the mirror.

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    Regardless of whether there's some point in his analysis, he's one of the worst spokespersons for addiction recovery. Privileged, multiple rehab stays with an absolute refusal to believe the rules and laws apply to him. He couldn't accept the most minor responsibility, so the system is broken, right? Get clean, get sober, do your time, volunteer, live like you mean it. THEN, people might take your opinion more seriously.
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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SapphireJD View Post
    Regardless of whether there's some point in his analysis, he's one of the worst spokespersons for addiction recovery. Privileged, multiple rehab stays with an absolute refusal to believe the rules and laws apply to him. He couldn't accept the most minor responsibility, so the system is broken, right? Get clean, get sober, do your time, volunteer, live like you mean it. THEN, people might take your opinion more seriously.

    Lol so who's a good spokesperson for it? Someone who's never been addicted? Or someone who recovered on his first try and did it all 'right'? Or at least an addict who didn't grow up rich, right?

    Do you know any addicts? Most of them relapse and have to struggle with this their entire lives, most have multiple stays in rehab. I don't have a problem with him criticising drug policy from prison, he's been through the system, he knows it and it's not like it doesn't blow (no pun intended) and need reforming.

    Also, where does he say that the rules don't apply to him? Read what he says below, since it seems like you didn't read the article before posting a reply. He's accepting that he deserves punishment, what he's criticising is how the US system treats addiction like a criminal offence, and not like a health issue, which is what it is. Do you really think a non-violent drug offence warrants almost 2 years of solitary confinement and such a strict sentence? Even if he fucked up, it's drugs we're talking about. Rapists and child abusers get lighter sentences and yet US prisons are full of people facing ridiculously harsh sentences for drugs. It's beyond retarded.

    I'm not saying that I didn't deserve to be punished, or that I'm worthy of special treatment. I made mistakes and I'll gladly and openly admit my faults. However, I seem to be trapped in a vicious cycle of relapse and repeat, as most addicts are. Unfortunately, whereas the effective remedy for relapse should be treatment, the penal system's "answer" is to lock the door and throw away the key.


    Somehow, with the astronomical rate of recidivism, largely due to drug violations, no one seems to comprehend that tossing individuals desperate for skills to cope with addiction behind bars, no matter for how long a period of time, does absolutely nothing but temporarily deter them from succumbing to their weakness. Instead of focusing on how many individuals this county can keep imprisoned, why can we not focus on how many individuals we can keep from coming back?
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    Elite Member stef's Avatar
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    while he may not be the best example, i agree with him. this problem (locking addicts up instead of helping them get clean and focussing on keeping them out of prison) won't change, though, as long as corporations are benefiting and making money by incarcerating people.
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    I can't take him seriously. He knows nothing, repeat offender etc. That might all be part of his hopeless predicament but then again it might not.

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    If Cameron is able to take this stance once he gets out of prison, he'd make a hell of a spokesman. The incarceration of drug addicts, who have committed no other crime, is stupid beyond words.

    I used to think that addicts like Cameron, who have been through multiple rehabs, really need prison to effect them. I'm changing in that opinion recently, though still forming the new opinion. It goes something like this - there will always be drug addicts. The more drugs we make illegal, the more dangerous the alternatives that addicts will develop. Treatment should be the viable alternative, not incarceration.
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    Elite Member rollo's Avatar
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    He was a pusher. Have we forgotten this?
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    Weight too. Not nickel bags.

    Even in countries with much more liberal drug laws, he'd be doing prison time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rollo View Post
    He was a pusher. Have we forgotten this?
    I think it's fair to say some have, yes.

    While each state handles things differently, most inmates in our state have to go through a rehab program before they are released. The inmate gets to decide what they take from it.

    I have no sympathy for him. He talks about his family going through adversity but seems to forget to mention he is the source of it. We can all look the other way and forget he was selling (manufacturing?) but that signicantly increases things from simple addiction to becoming a criminal.
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    it's not about sympathy. it's about recognising that the US' drug laws and policies are fucked up and finding pragmatic and effective solutions.
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    Our system is a mess due to the Drug Zones and crazy sentencing guidelines. The prison system doesn't care about rehab. I have known too many clients who served time only to find the best drugs they had ever had were available to them in prison. They came out more addicted and to more dangerous drugs. It's a bad system but there is too much money and ego tied up in the decisions to hope for real change.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rollo View Post
    He was a pusher. Have we forgotten this?
    He is writing his open letter as if he was put in jail simply for doing drugs. Umm no. Even if his sentence was extended for using while in jail, he would have never been there if he wasn't distributing.
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