Our message to governments is that addressing an overcrowded prison system at a time of falling crime rates should trigger a real change to our justice policies and current high spending prison approach.
Unlike many policies which tend to rely on modelling and produce endless disputes about assumptions and bias, drug policy discussions can draw upon real life experiences and much evidence. But depressingly, rarely in public policy development does evidence so easily get overridden by personal crusades and unfounded beliefs as happens with drug policy.
If your answer is zero tolerance, then advocate to do it properly and fairly. Everyone should be tested regularly and if a positive test results, they should be publicly named, arrested, charged and have their future employment and travel opportunities restricted. Is this really the sort of the world you want to live in?
If Australia takes the weak approach of just wanting to fly under the radar and offend no-one on this critical issue, then all that will be achieved is an exorbitant travel bill for bureaucrats to travel to New York for the meeting.
Australia needs a new approach. We need to learn the lessons of history and to understand the evidence of what is happening in the world around us. Death penalties, harsh sentences and increased policing have done little in our region to curb drug use and the many harms it creates
The current political and community discussion on prisons appears to be quite logical. Too many prisoners means building more prisons. The problem is that it doesn't solve the problem and doesn't improve community safety. In fact it achieves very little of what people think it will achieve.