Edwards: War On Drugs Too Punitive

03/28/2008 02:45 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Grinnell, Ia. - America needs to reconsider its punitive approach to "the so-called war on drugs," presidential candidate John Edwards said here today.

"We're not going to build enough prisons to solve this problem," he told a crowd of about 800 at Grinnell College.

The former North Carolina senator grinned when a young man sitting behind him on stage asked about drug policy. "Only on college campuses," Edwards joked before answering.

He said he's especially concerned about mandatory minimum sentences for first-time drug offenders, which he said should be reconsidered. He added that too few drug offenders get treatment.

"You go to jail, you come out of jail, and a lot of people go right back to the environment that got them in trouble to begin with," he said. "...We need to get them the help that they need; if they need education, if they need job training, if they need drug rehabilitation."

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