Entertainment

Martin Sheen, Matthew Perry push for Drug Courts support at D.C. event

Laura Donovan Contributor

“The Departed” star Martin Sheen and “Friends” actor Matthew Perry paid a visit to the nation’s capital Tuesday to encourage Congress to support Drug Courts funding.

Sheen, who has voiced his liberal political views for years and been with the Drug Courts movement for almost two decades, told The Daily Caller that he cares about “all” and “every” important issue that America faces.

When asked about President Barack Obama, whom Sheen supported during the 2008 presidential election, the “West Wing” legend said he’s still a fan.

“I adore him,” Sheen told TheDC of Obama. “You bet [I’d support him in 2012] and in 2016 and 2020 if he decides to run.”

On Washington D.C. as a place, Sheen told TheDC, “Oh, well it’s….it’s necessary.”

Drug Courts, lead by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP), aims to help non-violent offenders get back on their feet through a mix of treatment and strict accountability rather than incarceration. (Martin Sheen lobbies for continued Drug Courts funding while two decriminalization groups push for changes). As TheDC reported in April, recent studies conducted by the Justice Policy Institute (JPI) and the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) found that Drug Courts ignored and failed to address many problems, and some program participants found themselves in worst situations post-Drug Courts than they were in beforehand. The Drug Courts site, however, attests that 75 percent of graduates never see another pair of handcuffs again.

Speaking to a rally of hundreds, Sheen preached and repeated Drug Courts’ “All Rise” catchphrase.

“Those two words capture the essence of what a Drug Court is all about,” Sheen said. “‘All Rise’ describes how Drug Courts provide hope and strength and support for those who the traditional justice system says are hopeless. Instead of indifference, they show compassion. Instead of punishment, they are shown the possibility of a new way of life. When we hear ‘All Rise,’ it renews our conviction to stand up for these life-saving courts…When a Drug Court graduate never sees another pair of handcuffs again, we all rise.”

At the end of his speech, Sheen mouthed “I’m so pumped” and fist bumped fellow Hollywood big name Matthew Perry, who made several introductions at the event.

Perry said he believed the rally went well.

“It was great,” Perry told TheDC, adding that he’s supported Drug Courts for five years.

When asked if he has any movies or TV shows in the works, the “Seventeen Again” actor told TheDC, “Uh, no, a lot of talk though.”

Sheen was happy with the rally as well.

“It’s always going well, even when it’s not well it goes well,” Sheen told TheDC.

Asked about current entertainment projects, Sheen showed TheDC a flier for his upcoming movie “The Way,” which is directed by his son Emilio Estevez.

“This is one of the best movies you will ever see,” Sheen told TheDC, explaining that he’s starting a national tour on August 26. “It’s the pilgrimage of El camino Santiago de Compostela, you see, an 800 kilometer pilgrimage across northern Spain. It’s been going on for over a thousand years.”

Also in attendance at the actor Harry Lennix and Sens. Ben Nelson and Rand Paul, who told TheDC he was at the event to “support the concept of Drug Courts.”

Sheen, who could be seen posing in pictures with and hugging rally attendees, discussed a myriad of topics but did not answer hecklers’ questions about troubled son Charlie Sheen, who was a hot news item earlier this year for getting kicked off “Two and a Half Men” and publicly ranting about former boss Chuck Lorre.

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