01/16/11 - Davian Reynolds

Century of Lies

18 year old Davian Reynolds speaks re children of the incarcerated + Paul Armentano of NORML, Mary Jane Borden of Drug War Facts & DTN Editorial

Audio file


Century of Lies / January 16, 2011


The failure of Drug War is glaringly obvious to judges, cops, wardens, prosecutors and millions more. Now calling for decriminalization, legalization, the end of prohibition. Let us investigate the Century of Lies.


Hello my friends. Welcome to this edition of Century of Lies. We do have on-line Mister Davian Reynolds. He’s a child of a parent who is incarcerated and let’s go ahead and welcome, Mister Davian Reynolds. Are you with us, sir?

Davian Reynolds: Yes I am. Hi, how are you?

Dean Becker: I’m well, sir. Now, you have a lot of experience talking in this regard yourself, do you not?

Davian Reynold: I do.

Dean Becker: Tell us a little bit about your situation that you’re – about your parents being put behind bars.

Davian Reynolds: Sure. Well, to start I have been advocating for children of incarcerated parents since the age of twelve. I started with a magazine called, “Glow Again,” I believe where I talked a little bit about my experience about being in foster care from the ages of one to four, while my mother was incarcerated due to drugs and alcohol abuse.

So, I actually, whenever I advocate and I tell my story, I actually consider my situation to be a little bit more compromising or I consider myself to be a little bit more lucky because I was in a kinship, where I was placed with an agency that had a relationship with my family.

Dean Becker: There was a little bit more care taken.

Davian Reynolds: Exactly.

Dean Becker: Under that circumstance, sure. Now Davian, you have spoken to other governmental agencies, I guess, if I get that right. You went to Vienna recently, did you not?

Davian Reynolds: No, I went to Geneva, Switzerland.

Dean Becker: Geneva, I’m sorry.

Davian Reynolds: No problem. When I was at least sixteen and I know that I was with a group that had different objectives but I know being that young I should remember that my purpose for being there was to basically advocate for children with incarcerated parents and basically mend the bill of rights for children with incarcerated parents which are eight rights.

I worked very closely with in trying to make them a reality. They were just basic rights that I believe should be established to help children like myself that had parents behind bars. So, that’s what I was there for but I know that other people were there for advocating for gay rights and dealing with women being released from prison and that type of thing.

Dean Becker: Once again, we are speaking with Davian Reynolds. Davian, I’m looking at the report from the Justice Strategies Group.

Davian Reynolds: Right.

Dean Becker: And they’re talking about in there that 53% of the 1.5 million people held in US prisons by 2007, were the parents of one or more minor children and that translated into 1.7 million minor children with an incarcerated parent.

Now this is just talking about the current numbers and the truth be told, if you reach back over the decades of the Drug War it’s tens of millions of children who have been deprived of years without their parents, right?

Davian Reynolds: Right.

Dean Becker: And I guess that the question is that in your travels, in your discussions, what do you hear from other children whose parents have been locked up?

Davian Reynolds: I can even talk about my personal experience, where as I said before, I consider myself to be very lucky and I know for my siblings, they definitely have a different experience then I do.

So, I was also looking at the report where they said ages – children of ages one through four never get to see their parent again, you know, until later down the line. So, I know although I was able to be reunited with my biological mother at the age of four, some of my siblings didn’t have that opportunity until they were aged twenty three or age twenty.

Basically, I was just reunited with my last sister that I lost contact with. Two or three years ago so these statics are definitely realistic. So, also speaking and working with children who have parents that are incarcerated, they undergo an experience much like mine where they were lied to and a lot of it is very unclear as far as what’s happening with their parent, so and although – and also something that I advocate for is for a child appropriate explanation as to what is happening with your parent. So, I don’t believe that I should have been told that my foster parents were my biological parents, while my biological mother was in prison but that’s just one thing that I hear a lot.

Dean Becker: Yeah. Yeah, a little deception along the way.

Davian Reynolds: Exactly.

Dean Becker: Once again were speaking with Davian Reynolds. Folks need to realize this, he sounds very mature but he’s eighteen years of age and currently enrolled at St. Lawrence University, majoring in Communication with two minors, one in Pre-Law and the other in English.

You are one of the lucky ones because so many times the report talks about an increased likely engagement of anti-social and delinquent behavior, school failure, unemployment and developing mental health problems, which is something that is becoming more obvious that the country needs to face down, right?

Davian Reynolds: Exactly, for a while I worked for the Oslo Association and I was actually, I think, the youngest there to be on payroll and everything, when I was, I think, sixteen.

What I was there for was, I was responsible for creating focus groups for children like myself to meet other children who have parents in prison and a lot of that was I that I was responsible was gearing up to visit their parents.

Within those focus groups, I did realize that a reoccurring scene was that they were afraid to tell other peers, especially in a school setting that they had a parent incarcerated. So, there was a lot of unexplained behavior because that student would be lying and saying, “My parent is away,” but in all actually they would be in prison.

There wasn’t really a way to explain that to a peer without being ridiculed or without being discriminated against and that’s also another thing that I advocate for so to create an environment, especially in a school setting, where a child should be able to prosper and get the best out of their education.

Dean Becker: Yeah.

Davian Reynolds: By being honest and they shouldn’t feel any type of way to hide their parental situation.

Dean Becker: I tell you what, Davian, coming back to the report again, it also talks about a compromised sense of connectedness and worthiness, susceptibility to peer pressure, risky behavior, social stigma and shame and risk of involvement with the criminal justice system. Would you like to talk on that for a minute?

Davian Reynolds: I guess that just referring back to the school setting, there is a lot of stigma – let me just go back a little bit – already there is statistics about people being in impoverished neighborhoods and people of color and entering a school system and having a parent incarcerated on top of that definitely adds on a particular stigma about that topic and as – in the report you can see that there’s definitely a lot of things that are likely to happen or are expected for a child to happen that has a parent incarcerated like what you said before, behavioral issues and other things of that matter.

I definitely believe that there’s a lot more added pressure that is attached without having a parent in prison. Does that answer your question?

Dean Becker: No, it does. It does. Davian, I want to remind folks that we were – we had hoped to have Patrica Allard to share her thoughts with us. She’s with justicestrategies.org and they have a great new report co-authored by Patricia, Children on the Outside Voicing the Pain and Human Cost of Parent Incarnation.

Tens of millions of our children have had to deal with this stigma, face down this situation and in many cases suffer financial loss and in many cases become homeless or get involved in the criminal justice system themselves. We’ve got to rethink this Judge Roy Bean attitude. Do we not, Davian?

Davian Reynolds: Definitely.

Dean Becker: Yeah, another segment of the the report, no sense of having a place in the world, a pervasive sense of apathy, struggling to become adults before their time – trying to take Dad or Mom’s place, I suppose, anxiety about their aging grandparents, challenges relating to having to start over, perhaps again and again and the yearning for those parental figures right?

Davian Reynolds: Right, I can speak a little bit about that too, especially in working with other children of the incarcerated and a little bit about myself. I know that even when you introduced me, you said that I’m a lot more mature for my age and I definitely agree with that and I think a lot of that is because I had a parent incarcerated.

In many cases, children who have parents incarcerated, usually have younger siblings that they feel that they need to be responsible for and I have younger brother and although I was four when I was placed back with my biological parents, I did feel a sense of entitlement to be a little bit more protective of my younger sibling and in many cases where I worked with children who have parents incarcerated, they are placed like with grandparents or older guardians, so as far as taking their younger siblings to the park or taking them to child friendly places that responsibility is usually placed on the older child or the older sibling. So, yeah I definitely agree with that about the maturity definitely being that—

Dean Becker: —Kind of overloaded by it all. Sure.

Davian Reynolds: Right.

Dean Becker: Once again we are speaking with Mister Davian Reynolds. Davian, I wanted to talk about some of the solutions, the outline, if you will, of the solutions that are included in this report.

Number one, reduce reliance on incarceration. I was already talking about that we have got to get rid of this lock ‘em up and throw away the key attitude. Secondarily, they are talking about; address the immediate pain of parental incarceration to take that sting away, to diminish that stigma.

Davian Reynolds: Aan a lot of that is, exactly what you said, eliminating the stigma that is placed on the child that has a parent incarcerated, when they should be given the same and equal opportunity as any other child in a school setting or in work environment or wherever the lights go in life.

Dean Becker: Alright, I wanted to talk again about the situation is many times a family is in the city and they – and one parent gets convicted and sent to prison that’s way across the state or sometimes another state and the you can’t pick up the phone and give them a call. It’s like – it’s very difficult to maintain that regular contact, that closeness isn’t it?

Davian Reynolds: It definitely is. I haven’t had any personal experience with that but hearing stories from other children, I mean, even as far as receiving collect calls from parents who are in prison, that’s highly and very expensive, as I hear.

Dean Becker: Okay, I’ll tell you what, we have just a few seconds here I want to go ahead a wrap it up. I want to thank you for being with us. We’ve been speaking with Mister Davian Reynolds justicestrategies.org.

Please, check out the report on their website: Children on the Outside Voicing the Pain and Human Cost of Parent Incarnation. Again, that is at justicestatagies.org. Alright, Davian, Thank you very much!

Davian Reynolds: No problem.


(Soft lounge music)

I am an agent for the cartels
I help to keep the prices high
Searching in the dark
For another Hippie to bust

We hear you talking on your cell phone
And on your home phone line
The narcs and informers
Are in bed with crime


Dean Becker: Drug War is treason.
Does the Drug War do anything for our nation?
Does it protect the children?
Does it stop international intrigue and rebellion?
Is it based on science?
Is it even logical?

After investing twenty thousand hours into this subject, I know there is absolutely no basis for this Drug War to exist.

There is no truth involved, no justice to be found and no scientific facts sufficient to justify this jihad. No medical data existent to excuse this inquisition.

That to me is what this Drug War is an inquisition, a means to frighten the people with propaganda, moral posturing and justifiable fear of the inquisitors.

The US Supreme court claims a Drug War exception to the US Constitution.

Science has been corrupted for the last hundred years in the name of Drug War. Medical practitioners have been corrupted as well and are now suffering for their cowardice as more pain doctors are locked up and their careers destroyed.

Law enforcement has been corrupted and our legal system a hellhole Customs and border agents are bribed on a daily basis. Prisons are filled to over flowing. The US is now the world’s leading jailer.

Children are enticed to enjoy violent gangs or to use the tainted products circulated by the black market in drugs, the leading multi-level marketing organization.

Rebels and paramilitaries in Columbia and Mexico are making billions and are escalating their wars. Thousands are dying each year. The Taliban, Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden make additional billions for the opium trade, so they can buy more weapons with which to kill our fine soldiers.

It is necessary that we have wars, death, diseases, crime and addiction, so that these moral leaders in government, science, medicine, the media and the legal system can point to the symptoms of drug prohibition and through their stilted and evil lens of propaganda they can call for more drug war.

This is treason.

Those who support this Drug War whether by outright complicity, feigned superstition or feigned ignorance are the best friends the drug lords could ever hope for.

The wind beneath the wings of the terrorists, homeboys to the gangs, purveyors of deceit, enablers of crime, reapers of the harvest of non-violent offenders. Bigoted and unconstitutional, drug prohibition is a betrayal of morality, science, medicine and common sense.

Those who stand for Drug War must be brought to justice. Once we remove these charlatans from positions of power, other social changes will become much easier.

That can only be done by you, by your words and by your courage.


Mary Jane Borden: Hello Drug Policy Aficionados, I’m Mary Jane Borden, Editor of Drug War Facts.

The question for this week asks: Does the national drug control strategy achieve its goals?

A 2008 congressional research service report describes a document released annually by the Austin National Drug Control Policy, “Since 1999 the administration has developed an annual national drug control strategy which describes the total budget for drug control programs and outlines US Strategic goals for stemming drug supply and demand.”

Goals have varied.

In 1999 the strategy posed, “a ten year conceptual framework to reduce illegal drug use and availability by 50% by the year 2007.” The 2002-2005 goals were roughly the same with the 2003 strategy calling for a two year goal of “a 10% reduction in current use of illegal drugs by eighth, tenth and twelfth graders.” And a five year goal of “a 25% reduction in current use of illegal drugs by adults age 18 and over.”

The source for the first percent came from the Monitoring the Future Survey which found that the current use of illegal drugs of eighth, tenth and twelfth graders for the two years following 2003 declined by 5.2%.

The other source, the National Survey for Drug Use and Health. reported that illegal drug use by adults 18 and older during the five years following 2003, grew by +4.3%. By 2009 the increase was +9.7%.

The National Drug Control strategy for 2010 revised the goals slightly to “decrease the thirty day prevalence of drug use among eighteen year olds by 15%” and to “reduce the number of chronic drug users by 15%.” It says, “the president’s fiscal year 2011 National Control Budget requests $15.5 million to reduce drug use.”

These facts and others like them can be found in the Drug Usage and United States Policies chapters of Drug War Facts at www.drugwarfacts.org.

If you have a question for which you need facts, please email it to me at mjborden@drugwarfacts.org. I’ll try to answer your question in an upcoming show.

So, remember when you need facts about drugs and drug policy you can get the facts at Drug War Facts.


Paul Armentano: I’m Paul Armentano, Deputy Director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

There is an excellent piece in the Detroit Metro News and it focuses on the science behind why marijuana works for so many people as a medicine. I was really pleased with the final product, not just because it is a well written and well done and informative piece but because I saw the change take place in the mindset of the columnist who was writing it.

When he initially approached me about this piece, he was approaching the topic from the premise that we as a society just don’t know enough about medical marijuana and it really remains a mystery on how marijuana works with the body in that we just haven’t studied this plant and its compound well enough to really go ahead and recommend its safety and efficacy as a medicine.

Through the course of our conversations, I tried to point him in the direction that that really is not the case, that in fact we have a very sound understanding of how marijuana interacts biologically, physiologically, to work as a medicine and that, in fact, our understanding of the therapeutic compounds in this plant is really better than our understanding of how many conventional medications actually interact with the human body.

To see the learning process take place and to see the finished product, the column that he put out that really, I think, for the general public works towards educating them of the fact that not only is marijuana a safe and effective medicine but that this is a product that we have a fundamentally sound understanding of.

I think in many ways and particularly in a state like Michigan where they are having ongoing debates about marijuana that a column like that can really be game changers in this entire political debate.

Dean Becker: Alright, Paul, that was – for the listeners – that was in the Detroit Metro Times, Higher Ground When Science Goes to Pot. Now Paul, you at NORML have just issued a release in so far as all of the studies on the therapeutic use of cannabis. It flies in the face of so many pronouncements from legislature and other media that we need more studies, right?

Paul Armentano: This is the fourth edition of a publication that I first offered – authored back several years ago called, The Emerging Clinical Applications for Cannabis and Cannabinoid: A Review of the Recent Scientific Literature and my point for writing this was to collect the recent clinical and pre-clinical studies that had been published on marijuana and its compounds, essentially to counter that argument that we just don’t know enough about marijuana, that we just need more studies.

The reality is that what we need is to have public policy based on the science and studies that have already been conducted and published and that is unfortunately what hasn’t happened. So, in this fourth edition, I basically highlight and summarize the literally almost two hundred published studies that have been conducted over the past ten years, going all the way up to a December 2010 and look at how these studies assess the safety and efficacy of marijuana for about nineteen different clinical indications.

Specifically, what we are looking at in many of these is not just the use of marijuana to treat symptoms of serious illnesses but actually the ability of the compounds in of marijuana to treat the underlying illness itself.

We also feature for the first time, a section of this booklet authored by a main physician, Dustin Sulak, who gives readers a great overview and introduction to the endocannabinoid regulatory system and he speaks about how cannabis interacts with this system and how pivotal it is for the maintenance of good health.

Dean Becker: I saw a recent instance where a person kept their marijuana in a drawer where candy should be found and they used that as justification of child endangerment. Your closing thoughts there, Paul?

Paul Armentano: This is actually a very important issue. At NORML we get calls all the time from parents who are being prosecuted by the state under the guise that somehow they are not creating a safe environment for the child because either marijuana is present on the premises or marijuana is being grown on the premises in some separate room.

Clearly, we have a very inconsistent application of the law in these sort of cases. If someone had alcohol in their refrigerator, Child Protective Services would not be coming in to the house and claiming that his is an unsafe environment for the child because there was an intoxicating substance located in the premises.

Child Protective Services are not going to take the child out of a home because most families have a medicine cabinet, where there are a whole host of psychotropic drugs and drugs capable of inducing a fatal overdose, particularly in children that are located in the medicine cabinet.

So, it certainly to me seems inconsistent that we would bring the full force of the law down on the parents that happen to have or be using a substance that is therapeutically safer than Tylenol and recreationally safer than alcohol in the presence of their home.

I think their needs to be a whole lot more awareness on both the legal community and to the public at large regarding the safety of marijuana and how simply because somebody is a user of marijuana or a medial user of marijuana that does not necessarily mean that they are unfit to be parents or that they are raising children in an environment that is unsafe or unfit for children

Dean Becker: Alright one again friends we’ve been speaking with Mister Paul Armentano. He is Deputy Director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. Paul, please share you website with the listeners.

Paul Armentano: It’s www.norml.org and if individuals want to go to our website, they can actually locate on-line and download PDF copies of the report I spoke of Emerging Clinical Applications for Cannabis and Cannabinoids. We’re also making available at a reduced rate, a hard copy of the third edition of this report.

Dean Becker: Alright, once again that was Paul Armentano of NORML. I urge you to please visit the website of justicestrategies.org and read their report, Children on the Outside Voicing the Pain and Human Cost of Parental Incarceration.

Join us next week on Cultural Baggage. Our guest will be Brendan Kiley and the Washington Post reporter Pam Constable reporting from Afghanistan.

As always, there is no truth or logic, no truth and no reason for this Drug War to exist.
Please do your part to end the madness.

Visit our website: endprohibition.org

Prohibido istac evilesco!


For the Drug Truth Network, this is Dean Becker. Asking you to examine our policy of Drug Prohibition.

The Century of Lies.

This show produced at Pacifica Studios at KPFT, Houston.

Drug Truth Network programs, archived at the James A. Baker III Institute for Policy Studies.

Transcript provided by: Ayn Morgan of www.eigengraupress.com