CT: New animation illustrates the real size of Sentencing Enhancement Zones

One of the worst ideas to come out of the War on Drugs is sentencing enhancement zones. These laws mandate a higher penalty for crimes committed within a certain distance of schools. The intent is noble, but at huge distances like 1,500 feet, the laws are actually harmful. Full Article

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I like those maps with all the circles overlapping, pretty much making whole cities exclusion zones, and this is only 1500 feet. Make it 2000 feet and you pretty much cover anything. At least with the drug zone you have to commit a crime in one to get the prison term. For our Jessica’s Law zine, you just have to live in one to be punished.
I am wondering if there is a way to pull up all the schools and parks in an area using Google Earth and then draw 2000 foot circles around them. Would be a great visual aid to bring to the Senate Public Safety Committee. Hartford Connecticut I imagine has about the same density of schools as say San Diego or Los Angeles or any other urban area in California.


I’m glad you like those maps. And yes, 2,000 feet is significantly worse than 1,500. Because of pi r squared (the formula for a circle) It actually covers 1.77 times as much area to have 2,000 foot zones.

If you do this kind of map though, don’t forget that these zones are typically measured from the property line and not some random central point at the school or park. The resulting exclusion zones won’t be exact circles, and they will be significantly larger than a circle with a 2,000 foot radius. (I sometimes see maps made by the police or other officials that show circles when the actual area that the police enforce is much larger; so these differences matter.)

That said, once the zones start to overlap it doesn’t matter much whether you draw them to their full extent….