on any given day at least 137,000 men and women are behind bars in the United States for drug possession, some 48,000 of them in state prisons and 89,000 in jails, most of the latter in pretrial detention. Each day, tens of thousands more are convicted, cycle through jails and prisons, and spend extended periods on probation and parole, often burdened with crippling debt from court-imposed fines and fees. Their criminal records lock them out of jobs, housing, education, welfare assistance, voting, and much more, and subject them to discrimination and stigma. The cost to them and to their families and communities, as well as to the taxpayer, is devastating. Those impacted are disproportionately communities of color and the poor.
On any given day in the United States, at least 137,000 peoplesit behind bars on simple drug-possession charges, according to a report released Wednesday by the American Civil Liberties Unionand Human Rights Watch.
Nearly two-thirds of them are in local jails. The report says thatmost of these jailed inmates have not been convicted of any crime: They're sitting in a cell, awaiting a day in court, an appearance that may be months or even years off, because they can't afford to post bail.