Students at Housatonic who are interested in the effect the drug war has on our democracy are in luck. A special topics class will be offered in the spring of 2017 to anyone who wants to be a contributing member of our democracy.
The formal name of the course is IDS 298: “Special Topics: Drug Wars,” and it will be taught every Wednesday in room 135 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:50 p.m. The course reference number for students who would like to sign up is 1892.
Saulo Colon , a sociology instructor at Housatonic, is teaching the course, along with Matthew Dunne a history professor.
Colon would like to teach students to think for themselves independently by looking at documented sources to question our past assumptions. Specifically, Colon says he would like to see students question the idea that drugs are a criminal problem instead of a mental health issue.
“Students should take this class because they will learn about how the structure of the society they live in is changed and how this will help them to understand current events and why they happen,” he said.
Colon emphasized that the United States has more people in prison than any other country. He also explained the war on drugs steals democratic rights from prisoners. The reason is because many of these prisoners are excluded from voting and participating in our democracy. He also emphasized that prisons protect corporate interests by paying prisoners far less than the minimum wage.
“Lastly prisons are places where corporations are now hiring people to work that should be done outside because the minimum wage doesn’t apply to prisons,” he added.
He also explained that the current war on drugs is a form of racial profiling.
“With the massive incarceration of poor people many people who are people of color — increasingly immigrants — require having a police system that profiles, targets and preys on mostly young men, but increasingly our poor woman too,” Colon said.
Colon then explained that our current prison system negatively affects our democracy.
“Our police prison system is limiting our democracy,” Colon said. “Democracy for the few, prisons for the many.”
Colin would like to provide a class to students that they can use their entire life.
“Our goal is to provide a class that is engaging, challenging, relevant, and useful,” he said.