Cameron Douglas, the former actor and son of Liberace star Michael Douglas, penned an essay from prison in which he argues against the harsh imprisonment terms handed down to drug offenders. It was published by The Huffington Post on Tuesday.

Douglas, 34, is currently four years into a 9 1/2 year prison sentence for multiple drug-related charges. By his own account, he has spent nearly two of his four years in solitary confinement – not for any violent act, but for “two dirty urines” during his incarceration. For the positive drug tests, he was also handed down an additional 4.5 years behind bars.

While using his own predicament to frame his essay, Douglas broadens the scope of the problem to include the half a million other people like him, who are behind bars for non-violent drug law violations. He argues that there are those convicted of violent crimes that serve less time than non-violent lawbreakers, that medical research indicates that drug addicts should be given treatment instead of longer prison statements, and that prison overpopulation should also be a serious consideration.

Cameron Douglas (right) with grandfather Kirk Douglas (left) and father Michael Douglas (center) in 2003's It Runs in the Family

Douglas writes, “I'm not saying that I didn't deserve to be punished, or that I'm worthy of special treatment. I made mistakes and I'll gladly and openly admit my faults. However, I seem to be trapped in a vicious cycle of relapse and repeat, as most addicts are. Unfortunately, whereas the effective remedy for relapse should be treatment, the penal system's "answer" is to lock the door and throw away the key.”

He continued with a call to action: “I can only hope that the educated, just, and decent men and women who hold positions of influence will find the courage to fight for change because they understand what is inherently right. In doing so, they will start gaining the support necessary to begin breaking these malignant molds that are such a detriment to our society and culture as a whole.”

After losing an appeal against the doubled prison term in April, Douglas stands to remain in prison until early 2018.

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