Drugs and Violence in El Salvador

Report on my field trip to El Salvador, with a speech and a paper on reducing drug-related violence.

When not engaged in blogging, I sometimes teach, and do actual policy analysis. I just visited El Salvador for the second time (courtesy of the United Nations Devlopment Program’s Sociedad sin Violencia project to talk to officials and citizens there about how to modify drug policy to reduce the violence incident to drug trafficking and drug (especially alcohol) consumption.

It turns out that El Salvador has a big gang problem (apparently imported from Los Angeles). That I hadn’t known before my travels, so it’s not reflected in what I wrote. I’m hoping to go back this summer with a team including David Kennedy to plan an initiative to reduce gang violence, on the model of Boston’s Project Cease-Fire.

In the meantime, though, I thought I might as well show you what I’d been up to. Perhaps readers who know more of Salvadoran conditions than I do can provide some useful advice.

Controlling Drug-related Violence (Speech text from 2002

Reducing the Contribution of the Drug Problem to Violence in El Salvador (Report from 2004)

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com