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12/9/97 - 12/31/97

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An Alternative to "War on Drugs":
The Drug Court

by Cecelia Formichella and Joe Formichella

Remember the War on Drugs? By the end of the 1980s, law enforcement and judicial officials across the country were seriously considering surrendering the War. The number of drug- related cases increased 229 percent during the Reagan era battle plan of interdiction and denial.

In Mobile County alone 3,000 drug-related cases were opened between January, 1990 and December, 1991. That is an average of 1,500 new cases a year or 125 a month -- more than four new cases every day. As a consequence of this explosion in criminal cases driven by new drug arrests, resources were being siphoned away from civil and other court divisions just to manage the drug caseload. Finally in 1989, judicial leadership and the public defender in Dade County Florida turned to community leaders and treatment agencies for an alternative approach to the "War on Drugs." Together they developed a diversion and treatment program for drug offenders: the Drug Court. The first program began in Miami, Florida in 1989. [_Full_Story_]

ACHE And USA Look at Delay of Viability Report

by Edmund Tsang

The Alabama Commission on Higher Commission (ACHE) will definitely publish the report that will determine the fate of academic programs in the state's two- and four-year institutions of higher education in February, 1998, spokesperson Kay Ivey said.

The report was supposed to be released in August, 1997. It was delayed due to a budget cut by state legislators who were angry with ACHE, according to Gaynell K. Dixon, chairperson of ACHE. [_Full_Story_]

Is Secular Humanism a Religion?

[Editor's note: The following is an excerpt of the presentation by Dr. Paul Kurtz at the Harbinger symposium, "Great Religions in a Pluralistic Society," 30 October 1997]

by Paul Kurtz

I am very pleased to be at this university, because the definition of a university is that it is committed to free inquiry. What better place to defend secular humanism, which is synonymous with free inquiry, and perhaps the best definition of it?

I was here in Mobile eleven years ago, in October of 1986. At that time the question was raised: Is secular humanism a religion? Six hundred and twenty four parents contended that it was. They wanted textbooks written by so-called secular humanists banned in the public schools in Alabama, and I believe that this was done. And there were 45 textbooks by some of the great intellectuals, such as the great historian Richard Hoffstadter, the humanist psychologist A.H. Maslow, the philosopher John Dewey; and others. The case was brought by Pat Robertson, and the judge was Judge Brevard Hand, "The Unlearned Hand," as he was known throughout the country. And this case was known throughout the country. This became a kind of symbol, because beginning in the 1980s there was a great effort to extirpate what was called secular humanism from the various schools of the United States. We thought that the effort to censor textbooks in Mobile was a test case. [_Full_Story_]

The Harbinger, Mobile, AL