Whence comes this idea that prison is only for nonviolent offenders? Every week someone comes into the tool shop to tell me his tools were stolen (sometimes along with his truck sometimes just the tools). That can have serious consequences for the victim. It can make him homeless.
It doesn't matter whether drugs were involved or not, although often they were.
Property criminals are like rats: they destroy 10 times as much as they eat.
Is prison the only way to get property criminals off the street? Sometimes, for sure.
I had been thinking about a post on this subject for some time, as there was a spate of reports about long terms of imprisonment in the weeks before the president announced plans for early release of some drug criminals. This unperceptive op-ed in the Washington Post pushed me to go ahead and write.
I have nothing to say, right now, about drug laws as such, only about a baseline assumption that only violence is deserving of imprisonment.