Vince Beiser

Vince Beiser is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer specializing in criminal justice issues. His work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, The Village Voice, Mother Jones.

Recent Articles

Drug Bust

The federal drug czar's famous advertising campaign is suffering a serious buzz-kill. The series of anti-drug radio, TV, print, and Internet ads produced by the Office of National Drug Control Policy is under unprecedented fire--including a recent call for its elimination from dozens of Congressional Republicans. That caps a series of scandals and dismal evaluations of the program that brings such bon mots as “Parents: The Anti-Drug” and “Above the Influence” to your TV screen. With the Iraq war and Katrina cleanup straining the federal budget, the Republican Study Committee--a klatch of over 100 Republican members of the House of Representatives--called in September for the ads warning young people about the dangers of weed, speed, and other substances to be scrapped to save money. The campaign had a budget of $100 million for last year, and has cost taxpayers well over $1 billion since its inception in 1998. But as the Republican group, headed by Indiana Rep. Mike Pence, pointed out...

Punishment Delayed

With nowhere to run to when Hurricane Katrina hit, Antoinette Samson huddled together with her husband and three children on the darkened second floor of their New Orleans home as the storm shook the walls. When the wind and rain finally subsided, they found themselves trapped, the lower level flooded to the ceiling. Rescued from their porch by a passing boat, the family wound up spending two nights sleeping on a highway overpass and three more in front of the infamous Superdome, surviving on water and MREs handed out by emergency workers. That, however, turned out to be some of the last help the family would get from the federal government. Though they are now homeless and broke, the entire family is cut off from federal housing and welfare assistance -- because six years ago, Samson's husband, Arnold Battiste, was convicted for possession of crack. “We lost everything,” says Samson, 31, a former New Orleans school bus driver who is now being sheltered with her family by a church in...