The lives of celebrities are an open book. Every move they make is followed and scrutinized by paparazzi and the public. Celebrities know this and accept it as a part of their profession. Unfortunately for their progeny, they too find themselves under surveillance. Oftentimes, their “growing pains” become fodder for public conversation. Thus is the case of Michael Douglas’ son.
Cameron Douglas, the son of Academy Award winner Michael Douglas who is serving a five-year sentence for drug dealing, was just sentenced to an additional four and a half years in prison.
The judge in his legal reasoning said: "I don't believe that I have had another case ever... of a defendant who has so recklessly, and flagrantly, and wantonly and criminally acted in as destructive and manipulative a fashion." I hear you judge, but I guess you don't know what drug relapse is about.
What good is it to serve an admitted addict with additional time in prison which is costing the taxpayer a ton of dough to make a point? We know Cameron is a fuck up. It's apparent after all the blundering and idiotic bad moves he has made.
But in reality, is an additional four and a half years -- two and a half more than the government sought to punish Cameron for his crime of addiction -- worth it? Substance abuse is a disease, which unfortunately doesn't go away overnight. I know that Douglas pissed off the judge but Berman should realize that our drug policies fail to account for the fact that drug use is a health issue and that relapse is an expected part of the recovery process.
At the recent U.S. Conference of Mayors' annual meeting in Baltimore, it was pointed out that the U.S. has by far the highest incarceration rate in the world. It has 2.4 million of its residents in prison or jail, including roughly 500,000 Americans behind bars for drug law violations -- an increase of 1200 percent since 1980. Criminal justice experts attribute the exploding U.S. prison population to harsh sentencing laws and record numbers of drug law offenders, many of whom have substance abuse problems.
Should we treat drug addiction as a criminal matter or a medical problem? For most people, treatment is much more effective than incarceration for breaking their addictions, yet our prisons are full of drug-addicted individuals. Nonviolent drug offenders should be given an opportunity to receive treatment, not jail time, for their drug use. This would be a more effective and a much more affordable solution for the individual and the community.
Prison is a horrible place and until he accepts responsibility for his actions, Douglas will forever be a prisoner to his drug addiction. What do you think?