"If the war on drugs were winnable, we would already have won it."
Peter Moskos was a Baltimore City Police Officer assigned to patrol on the midnight shift in the high-crime Eastern District (a ghetto known to many from the HBO series The Wire). Moskos policed ground zero in our "war" on drugs and saw the damage caused by the illegal drug trade and the failure of the war on drugs.
Moskos knows that the damage from heroin and crack cocaine is real and severe. But he has seen firsthand how prohibition creates a public and illegal drug market based on cash, guns, and violence. Prohibition has created a cycle of crime and violence, incarcerated millions of Americans, and led to the deaths of too many police officers. While drug use can destroy an individual, the drug war's "collateral" damage destroys whole neighborhoods.
Moskos left the police force to return to his graduate studies in sociology. He
received his B.A. from Princeton University (1994) and his Ph.D. from Harvard University (2004) and is currently a professor of Law and Police Science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City.
He is the author of the award winning and critically acclaimed Cop in the Hood, published by Princeton University Press. Moskos argues that the war on drugs has created a new policing paradigm in America based on drug arrests. His current research focuses on police, crime prevention, and public policies that actually succeed at improving quality of life and saving lives.
"The issue is not whether drugs are good or bad, but whether prohibition works. Forty years of ineffective drug laws are proof enough that it doesn't."