Drugs Send More Women to Prison

The war on drugs has sent an increasing number of women to prison, according to a new study. The number of women in state prisons for drug offenses rose from 2,400 in 1986 to 23,700 in 1996, nearly 10 times as many, according to the study by the Sentencing Project, a private group devoted to finding alternatives to imprisonment.

For non-drug crimes, the number of imprisoned women rose from 17,200 to 39,400. James Alan Fox, professor of criminal justice at Boston's Northeastern University, said, "The impact on families and children is obviously disproportionate when women are locked up."

Specter Is Granted Subpoena Power After a vigorous debate, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a request by Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) to permit him to issue subpoenas in his campaign finance, espionage and Waco investigations while Congress is in recess.

Despite protests by Democrats over the breadth of the requests, the panel granted Specter the authority to issue subpoenas, contingent on the approval of key lawmakers.

Specter had circulated a draft resolution listing 38 possible recipients of subpoenas, including members of President Clinton's Cabinet.

Tobacco Suits to Remain Separate

A federal judge rejected a request by Philip Morris Cos. to consolidate the Justice Department's lawsuit against the tobacco industry with cases brought by foreign governments.

U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman ruled in a 9-page opinion that the Justice Department's case should stay with the judge to whom it had been assigned.

The Justice Department on Sept. 22 filed a lawsuit that accused the tobacco industry of fraud and deceit going back to the 1950s. It seeks to recover much of the $20 billion spent by the federal government every year on smoking-related illnesses.

Senate Rejects Merger Moratorium

The Senate soundly rejected a proposed 18-month moratorium on mergers of food and agriculture companies, which Midwest Democrats accuse of squeezing farm income.

Just one Republican, Sen. Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, supported the moratorium measure, as the Senate voted 71 to 27 against attaching it to a bill overhauling bankruptcy laws.