Rockefeller Drug Laws

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Press Release: Details of Rockefeller Reform Proposal Released

For Immediate Release: March 30, 2009 For More Info: Tony Newman at (646) 335-5384 or Gabriel Sayegh at (646) 335-2264 Proposal to Reform Rockefeller Drug Laws Included in NYS Budget Package, Vote Expected Tomorrow Bill Restores Judicial Discretion, Expands Drug Treatment, and Reforms Sentences for Low-Level, Nonviolent Drug Offenses Advocates: A Good First Step Towards Developing a Public Health and Safety Approach to Drugs in New York ALBANY- Over the weekend, New York Governor David Paterson, the Senate and the Assembly concluded negotiations on Rockefeller Drug Law reform. The bill is part of the state budget proposed by lawmakers, which is expected to be voted on this week. The bill outlines broad reforms to the long-failed Rockefeller Drug Laws, including restoring judicial discretion in most low-level drug cases, expanding drug treatment and alternatives to incarceration for people convicted of low-level nonviolent offenses, and increasing penalties for drug kingpins and adults who sell drugs to young people. “While much more moderate than the reform bill passed by the Assembly last month, this proposal constitutes an important step forward in developing more effective drug policies based in public health and safety,” said Gabriel Sayegh, project director with the Drug Policy Alliance. “The Legislature and Governor should have made the proposal even more expansive, for instance by returning discretion to judges in every drug case, not only low-level cases. We believe, though, that this bill constitutes real reform, and should be enacted.” Details of the proposal include: * Returns judicial discretion low-level drug law cases * Expands treatment and re-entry services * Expands drug courts * Allows for approximately 1,500 people incarcerated for low-level nonviolent drug offenses to apply for resentencing * Increases penalties for drug kingpins * Increases penalties on adults who sell drugs to young people The bill would allow certain people incarcerated for low-level nonviolent drug offenses to apply to the court for resentencing. The reforms of 2004 and 2005, enacted by a Democratic Assembly, Republican Senate and Republican Governor, allowed those person’s serving A-level felonies—the most serious felony level—apply for resentencing. But those reforms did not allow the vast majority of people incarcerated under the Rockefeller Drug Laws—those imprisoned for lower-level offenses--to be resentenced under the fairer system. The bill presented by the Legislature and Governor seeks to remedy this problem. The proposal would also allow judges to send those convicted of low-level drug law offenses into drug treatment or other alternatives to incarceration. The move could save New Yorkers hundreds of millions of dollars each year. Incarceration costs approximately $45,000 per year, while treatment and alternatives to incarceration cost $15,000 or less, and are far more effective at reducing recidivism and criminal activity. “As a former prisoner under the Rockefeller Drug Laws, I support this legislation because it will rescue many of the prisoners who fell through the cracks of the prior reforms,” said Anthony Papa, of the Drug Policy Alliance. “This proposal will give people convicted of low-level drug offenses a chance to be reunited with their families and become productive tax paying citizens like myself.” Earlier this month, the Assembly passed more significant reform legislation which started the negotiations for reform. Assembly bill 6085, sponsored by long-time reform champion Assemblyman Jeff Aubry (D-Queens), chairman of the Corrections Committee and Speaker Silver, was even more comprehensive than the proposal included in the budget today. Senator Eric Schneiderman (D-Manhattan), chairman of the Codes Committee, introduced similar legislation in the Senate, but that bill was never passed. An agreement of a meaningful compromise between he Governor, the Senate and the Assembly was announced at the Capitol last Friday. Enacted in 1973, the Rockefeller Drug Laws mandate extremely harsh prison terms for the possession or sale of relatively small amounts of drugs. Supposedly intended to target major dealers (kingpins), most of the people incarcerated under these laws are convicted of low-level, nonviolent offenses, and many of them have no prior criminal record. Approximately 12,000 people are locked up for drug offenses in New York State prisons, representing nearly 21 percent of the prison population, and costing New Yorkers hundreds of millions of dollars every year. Nearly 90% of those incarcerated are Black and Latino, representing some of the worst racial disparities in the nation. “This proposal isn’t as expansive as it should be, but it represents significant and long-overdue reforms,” said Sayegh. “For years advocates have fought for reforms to these failed laws. Now, after weeks of negotiations between the Legislature and Governor, we’re one vote away from real, meaningful reform of the Rockefeller Drug Laws.”
Location: 
NY
United States

Press Release: NYCLU -- Rockefeller Bill a Major Step Forward

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 29, 2009 CONTACT: Jennifer Carnig, 845.553.0349 / 212.607.3363 / jcarnig@nyclu.org NYCLU: Rockefeller Bill a Major Step Forward March 29, 2009 -- The bill to reform New York’s draconian Rockefeller Drug Laws is finally complete – finalized late Saturday night – and the New York Civil Liberties Union today applauded the historic agreement. “After 36 years of gross injustice, we are finally on the verge of significant reform to these ineffective, cruel laws,” said NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman. “The bill that the governor, senate and assembly agreed to does not repeal the Rockefeller Drug Laws, but if it passes it will be a major step toward justice in New York.” The final bill embraces – for the first time and in a meaningful way – two important principles of reform: It includes an elimination of mandatory minimum sentences, and it includes a restoration of judges’ authority to send many drug offenders to treatment programs instead of jail. The reform bill comes to a vote on Tuesday. Its passage is not guaranteed, Lieberman warned, and the possibility exists for the addition of amendments that would torpedo the essential gains made in the draft legislation. “It’s more important than ever for advocates, activists and everyday New Yorkers to call their elected officials,” said NYCLU Legislative Director Robert Perry. “This bill is an important step toward safer, healthier communities. We need to urge our leaders to support it.”
Location: 
NY
United States

Legislative Deal Made on Rockefeller Drug Laws

In yesterday's Drug War Chronicle we reported that a deal seemed to be near for reform of New York State's infamous Rockefeller Drug Laws -- reform that appeared likely to eliminate mandatory minimum sentencing for many (though not all) of the state's drug defendants while allowing current Rockefeller prisoners to apply for commutations. The deal now reportedly has been reached. Click here for the latest from the New York Times, and here for the NYT archive on the topic. Tony Papa sent out the link for the following NYPost.com video about it too: The legislation is not perfect, and it doesn't help everybody -- check back for details -- but we are optimistic that this will help a lot of people and that we are at an historical turning point in the issue.

Press Release: NYCLU Applauds Pledge to Reform Rock Drug Laws, but Cautions to Wait for Details

CONTACT:

Jennifer Carnig, 212.607.3363 / jcarnig@nyclu.org

NYCLU Applauds Pledge to Reform Rock Drug Laws, but Cautions to Wait for Details

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 27, 2009 – The New York Civil Liberties Union applauded the pledge made today by the governor, senate and assembly to reform the draconian Rockefeller Drug Laws, but cautioned that the essential details of the agreement have yet to be revealed. What has been outlined so far reflects a significant shift in policy and an important agreement in principle, but significant details have yet to be worked out.

“What Governor Paterson, Speaker Silver and Majority Leader Smith committed to today is a new approach to dealing with drug offenses. After 36 years of locking up people who suffer from addiction and mental illness, this is an exciting step,” said NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman. “The leaders of our state have finally recognized that the revolving door of lock-them-up-and-throw-away-the-key does not work. It has failed to make us safer and it has devastated communities. But the devil is in the details. We cannot celebrate reform of our state’s discriminatory, ineffective drug laws until we know the details.”

The agreement appears to embrace – for the first time and in a meaningful way – two important principles of reform: It includes a reduction of mandatory minimum sentences, and it includes a restoration of judges’ authority to send many drug offenders to treatment programs instead of jail.

“We have a commitment to the principles of reform,” said NYCLU Legislative Director Robert Perry. “But the real story is that this thing isn’t done yet. Our political leaders are trying hard to reach agreement on the details of a reform bill, but they haven’t done that yet. It’s really important that we all pay attention to the details that unfold in the coming days. The details could be the difference between meaningful reform of the Rockefeller Drug Laws and more of the same.”

Enacted in 1973, the Rockefeller Drug Laws mandate extremely harsh prison terms for the possession or sale of relatively small amounts of drugs. Though intended to target drug kingpins, most trapped by the laws are convicted of low-level, nonviolent offenses. Many of the thousands of New Yorkers in prison suffer from substance abuse problems or issues related to homelessness, mental illness or unemployment.

For decades, the NYCLU, criminal justice advocates and medical experts have fought to untie the hands of judges and allow addiction to be treated as a public health matter. As noted in the New York State Sentencing Commission’s recent report, sentencing non-violent drug offenders to prison is ineffective and counterproductive, and has resulted in unconscionable racial disparities: Blacks and Hispanics comprise more than 90 percent of those currently incarcerated for drug felonies, though most people using illegal drugs are white.

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Location: 
NY
United States

Press Release: Albany Agreement a Step Toward Dismantling Rockefeller, but Not a Done Deal and Not Repeal

CONTACT:

Jennifer Carnig, 212.607.3363 / jcarnig@nyclu.org

NYCLU: Albany Agreement a Step Toward Dismantling Rockefeller, but Not a Done Deal and Not Repeal

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 26, 2009 – The deal reached in principle late last night between Gov. David Paterson and legislative leaders could be an important step toward dismantling New York State’s draconian drug laws, said the leadership of the New York Civil Liberties Union. But what has been outlined so far is only an agreement in principle – not law – and it does not fully repeal the Rockefeller Drug Laws.

“Substance abuse is a public health issue,” said Donna Lieberman, NYCLU executive director. “For 36 years, New York State has been locking up people who suffer from addiction and mental illness – but that didn’t make us safer, remove drugs from the streets or serve the interests of our communities. Letting go of this backwards, ineffective approach and looking toward new ways to promote public health and public safety is an important step in the right direction, but it is just that – a step.”

The agreement appears to embrace – for the first time and in a meaningful way – two important principles of reform: It includes a significant reduction of mandatory minimum sentences, and it includes a significant restoration of the ability for judges to send drug offenders to treatment programs instead of jail.

“The intention of this agreement is a fundamental shift of public policy on drug abuse, away from mandatory incarceration and toward a public health approach,” said NYCLU Legislative Director Robert Perry. “That said, the proposal leaves in place some significant elements of the Rockefeller scheme. Extremely harsh sentences still exist. And there is still a mandatory minimum sentence for low-level, nonviolent repeat offenders – the very people who may need treatment and rehabilitation the most.”

Though there appears to be a conceptual agreement on many Rockefeller issues, the details are yet to be drafted. Still to be resolved is the definition of substance abuse and dependency. Also under negotiation are the procedures by which eligibility for treatment is determined. These details are significant because the wrong result could undermine the whole effort.

“While we’re hopeful about the direction our state is heading in terms of drug laws, this is a complex issue and draft legislation has not been made public,” Lieberman said. “And most importantly, the question of implementation remains. New York appears to be poised to embrace a public health approach, but the devil is in the details and we don’t know the details yet.”

Enacted in 1973, the Rockefeller Drug Laws mandate extremely harsh prison terms for the possession or sale of relatively small amounts of drugs. Though intended to target drug kingpins, most trapped by the laws are convicted of low-level, nonviolent offenses. Many of the thousands of New Yorkers in prison suffer from substance abuse problems or issues related to homelessness, mental illness or unemployment.

For decades, the NYCLU, criminal justice advocates and medical experts have fought to untie the hands of judges and allow addiction to be treated as a public health matter. As noted in the New York State Sentencing Commission’s recent report, sentencing non-violent drug offenders to prison is ineffective and counterproductive, and has resulted in unconscionable racial disparities: Blacks and Hispanics comprise more than 90 percent of those currently incarcerated for drug felonies, though most people using illegal drugs are white.

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Location: 
NY
United States

Sentencing: Rockefeller Drug Law Reform Deal Near, NY Times Says

The New York Times reported Thursday that a tentative agreement, on principle, to reform New York's draconian Rockefeller drug laws had been reached by Gov. David Paterson (D) and the state legislature. The state Senate has already passed its version of Rockefeller law reform; what remains to be done is to reach agreement with Paterson and Senate leaders, as well as wooing back Senate members if the final bill diverges too far from what they passed.

But it isn't a done deal yet, and reform leaders qualify their attitude as "cautiously optimistic" and holding firm for real reform. The devil is the details, they noted.

"This agreement is a good sign that progress is being made to enact real reform, but it is not final, and meaningful reform will be determined by the details," said Gabriel Sayegh of the Drug Policy Alliance. "The final deal must include the core components of meaningful reform: restoration of judicial discretion in drug cases including 2nd time offenses, sentencing reform, expansion of community drug treatment and alternatives to incarceration, and retroactive sentencing relief for those serving unjust, long sentences for low-level offenses."

Under the tentative agreement, judges would have considerable discretion in sentencing restored. They would be able to divert first-time nonviolent drug offenders to treatment instead of prison for all but the most serious drug offenses. Judges are currently bound by mandatory minimum sentences in the Rockefeller laws to send to prison people convicted of possessing small amounts of heroin and cocaine. Judges would also have the ability to send some repeat offenders to treatment, but only if they were found to be drug dependent.

The agreement does not represent repeal of the laws, but rather reform, and comes on the heels of a spirited protest outside of Gov. Paterson's New York City office yesterday where more than two hundred people, including Russell Simmons and Reverend Calvin Butts, called on the governor to keep his word and reform the laws. Another demonstration to pressure the politicians was set for today.

"I stood with the governor in 2002 when he was arrested protesting these laws, so I know he believes in meaningful reform," said Anthony Papa, communications specialist for the Drug Policy Alliance who served 12 years under the Rockefeller Drug Laws before then-Gov. George Pataki granted him clemency. "The deal has to be done, and done right. New York's experiment with this criminal justice approach has failed. It's time for the governor and Legislative leaders to take the first step toward a public health and safety approach to drugs."

Not everybody is happy about the presumptive deal. State district attorneys have fought hard to retain effective control over sentencing. Under current law with its mandatory minimums, prosecutors' charging decisions rather than judges' discretion effectively set sentences, and they want to keep that power. On the other side of the equation, some veteran reform activists are denouncing anything short of full repeal as a sell-out.

Stay tuned.

Press Release: Hundreds Rally at Governor's NYC Office, Demand End of Rockefeller Drug Laws

CONTACT:

Drop the Rock, Caitlin Dunklee: 646.269.7344

New York Civil Liberties Union: Jennifer Carnig, 212.607.3363

Drug Policy Alliance: Tony Newman, 646.335.5384

Hundreds Rally at Governor’s NYC Office, Demand End of Rockefeller Drug Laws

March 25, 2009 – Hundreds of New Yorkers rallied today in front of Gov. David Paterson’s Manhattan office, urging the governor and legislative leaders to enact a sweeping overhaul of the Rockefeller Drug Laws, the state’s infamous mandatory-minimum drug sentencing scheme.

Speakers – including hip hop mogul and reform advocate Russell Simmons and the Rev. Calvin Butts of Abyssinian Baptist Church – called on lawmakers to seize this historic opportunity to end the unjust and ineffective laws.

“New York’s drug sentencing laws are the Jim Crow Laws of the 21st Century,” said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union. “The Rockefeller Drug Laws have failed by every measure. They tear apart families, waste tax dollars and create shocking racial disparities. Governor Paterson and our legislative leaders must finally put an end to this endless cycle of failure and injustice.”

Enacted in 1973, the Rockefeller laws mandate extremely harsh prison terms for the possession or sale of relatively small amounts of drugs. Though intended to target drug kingpins, most of the people incarcerated are convicted of low-level offenses. Many of the thousands of New Yorkers in prison under the Rockefeller laws suffer from substance abuse problems; many others struggle with issues related to homelessness, mental illness or unemployment. About 90 percent are black or Latino even though most people who use and sell drugs are white.

“Today we stand at the doorstep of change, and we call on the governor, the state assembly leader and the senate majority leader to fulfill their promise to make that change to end the Rockefeller Drug Laws once and for all,” Simmons said. “We have all been working hard for too many years to not restore full judicial discretion and give judges the option to send people with addictions to treatment rather than prison. The hip-hop community will continue to seek the change that we all know is right.”

Despite modest reforms in 2004 and 2005, the state’s drug sentencing scheme remains intact. These laws deny judges the authority to place people suffering from addiction, mental health issues and homelessness into treatment programs.

“For 36 years, New York State has wasted billions of taxpayer dollars by allowing the racist Rockefeller Drug Laws to serve as a stimulus package for rural upstate prison communities,” said Glenn Martin, vice president of The Fortune Society. “No longer can we continue to lock up drug addicted people from poor urban communities, simply because policy makers lack a vision for upstate economic development.”

In 2002, Paterson, then a state senator, was arrested in an act of civil disobedience promoting the sweeping overhaul of the Rockefeller Drug Laws outside of the New York City offices of then-Governor George Pataki.

“Seven years ago, David Paterson, then a State Senator from Harlem, was handcuffed in an act of civil disobedience aimed at pressing Governor Pataki to end the Rockefeller Drug Laws.  Five years ago, as Senate Minority Leader, he proposed sweeping changes to the harsh statutes” says Caitlin Dunklee, coordinator of the Drop the Rock Campaign. “Now, as Governor, his constituents are rallying to urge him to exercise the leadership he was once known for.”

“We are here to remind Governor Paterson of his past promises and to urge him to return to his better political self,” state Robert Gangi, executive director of the Correctional Association.  “His record tells us that he’s fully aware of these laws’ harsh effects, that they are wasteful, ineffective, and marked by a stark racial bias.  It is time for him as governor to exercise leadership in removing the stain of these notorious statutes from New York’s penal code.”

“In 2002, Gov. Paterson stood by my side as a senator from Harlem New York and spoke bravely about changing the laws that heavily affected his constituency,” said Anthony Papa of the Drug Policy Alliance and former prisoner under the Rockefeller Drug Laws. “Now as governor he has the power to transform those words into action that will finally achieve meaningful reform.”

“For 36 years, the Rockefeller Drug Laws have filled our prisons, emptied the taxpayer’s pockets and have had no effect whatsoever on New York State’s drug use, especially in communities of color, except to turn young people into recidivist felons,” said George Bethos, leader of NYC AIDS Housing Network & Voices Of Community Advocates And Leaders (VOCAL). “Repeal these laws immediately or have society continue to pay the price.”

“We want to see the hundreds of millions of dollars wasted each year on criminalizing chemical dependency in poor urban areas reinvested in those very same communities targeted by these laws,” said Kym Clark, director of FREE! Families Rally for Emancipation and Empowerment. “We need livable wage jobs, educational resources, and access to health care, for starters.”

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Location: 
New York, NY
United States

Rally to end New York’s Rockefeller Drug Laws

Hundreds of people, including the families of those in prison for drug offenses, people who were formerly incarcerated, doctors, lawyers and advocates, will rally at Governor Paterson’s Manhattan office to urge him and legislative leaders to end the Rockefeller Drug Laws. The Rockefeller Drug Laws mandate extremely harsh sentences for sale or possession of small amounts of drugs. Most of the thousands of people incarcerated under Rockefeller are low-level drug offenders, and most come from just a handful of low-income New York City neighborhoods. Ninety percent are black or Latino even though most people who use and sell drugs are white. In 2002, Paterson, then a state senator, was arrested in an act of civil disobedience promoting a proposed overhaul of the Rockefeller Drug Laws outside of the New York City offices of then-Governor George Pataki. Now hundreds of people will gather outside his office to demand an end to the outdated, discriminatory laws.
Date: 
Wed, 03/25/2009 - 1:00pm
Location: 
633 3rd Ave. (between 40th and 41st)
New York, NY
United States

Press Release: Hundreds to Rally Wednesday at Paterson's NYC Office to End Rockefeller Drug Laws

For Immediate Release: March 23, 2009 Contact: Jennifer Carnig at 212.607.3363 or jcarnig@nyclu.org, Correctional Association Contacts: Caitlin Dunklee at 646-269-7344, Bob Gangi at 917-327-7648 Wednesday: Hundreds to Rally at Paterson’s NYC Office to End Rockefeller Drug Laws March 23, 2009 – On Wednesday, hundreds of people, including the families of those in prison for drug offenses, people who were formerly incarcerated, doctors, lawyers and advocates, will rally at Governor Paterson’s Manhattan office to urge him and legislative leaders to end the Rockefeller Drug Laws. The Rockefeller Drug Laws mandate extremely harsh sentences for sale or possession of small amounts of drugs. Most of the thousands of people incarcerated under Rockefeller are low-level drug offenders, and most come from just a handful of low-income New York City neighborhoods. Ninety percent are black or Latino even though most people who use and sell drugs are white. In 2002, Paterson, then a state senator, was arrested in an act of civil disobedience promoting a proposed overhaul of the Rockefeller Drug Laws outside of the New York City offices of then-Governor George Pataki. Now hundreds of people will gather outside his office to demand an end to the outdated, discriminatory laws. What: Rally to end New York’s Rockefeller Drug Laws When: Wednesday, March 25, 1 p.m. Where: Governor Paterson’s office, 633 3rd Ave., between 40th and 41st Who: The Rev. Calvin Butts, Abyssinian Baptist Church Drop the Rock New York Civil Liberties Union Correctional Association of New York Drug Policy Alliance The Fortune Society Exponents Mothers of the Disappeared Center for Community Alternatives Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Providers (ASAP) The Bronx Defenders Women’s Prison Association Families Rally for Emancipation and Empowerment (FREE) JusticeWorks Community - xxx -
Location: 
New York, NY
United States

Sentencing: New York Senate to Address Rockefeller Drug Law Reform in Budget -- Meanwhile, Another Damning Study Appears

The New York Assembly passed a Rockefeller drug law reform bill last Wednesday, with the state Senate expected to take action shortly. But last Friday, the Senate's Democratic leaders decided to fold their version of the bill into their larger budget proposals, which will be taken up later this month.

http://stopthedrugwar.com/files/fairness4.jpg
June 2003 ''Countdown to Fairness'' rally against the Rockefeller drug laws, NYC (courtesy 15yearstolife.com)
According to the Albany Times-Union, Senate Democrats, who control the chamber by a margin of 32 to 30, want to avoid being tagged as "soft on crime" by their Republican counterparts. With the Senate version of the Rockefeller reform bill submerged within the broader budget bills, senators will not have to actually stand up and vote for the reforms, just for the overall budget package.

"Our position is these bills should be taken up on the merits and not folded into a budget bill," said Senate Republican spokesman Scott Reif, whose party would like to see Democrats forced to vote for "freeing drug dealers."

"It's clear that it's as much of a budget issue as it is a sentencing issue," said Senate Democratic spokesman Austin Shafran, noting that imprisoning people or subjecting them to drug treatment both have financial costs. He denied that Democrats took this route because they lacked the votes to pass Rockefeller reform on its own.

While the politicians in Albany are dancing around each other, yet another report has been released demonstrating the disastrous impact more than three decades of Rockefeller drug laws has had on the state. The report, "Rockefeller Drug Laws: Unjust, Irrational, Ineffective," was produced by the New York Civil Liberties Union and examines the economic and social impact of the Rockefeller laws on the state as a whole and on its largest cities: Albany, Buffalo, New York City, Rochester and Syracuse.

In a demographic analysis of who is sent to prison and for what in New York, the report found huge racial and geographic disparities. In New York City, for example, neighborhoods with just 4% of the city's adult population accounted for 25% of those sent to prison. More than half of those sent up the river went on drug charges, and 97% were non-white. Similar numbers come in for other big Empire State cities.

"New York's drug sentencing laws are the Jim Crow laws of the 21st Century," said Robert Perry, NYCLU legislative director and the report's lead author. "Prosecution of drug offenses has sent hundreds of thousands to prison, most of whom were charged with low-level, nonviolent offenses. The Rockefeller drug laws have been a driving force in incarcerating a prison population that is almost exclusively black and brown."

"The Rockefeller drug laws have failed by every measure. They tear apart families, waste tax dollars and create shocking racial disparities," said Donna Lieberman, NYCLU executive director. "Yet, after 36 years of failure, our state continues locking up the wrong people for the wrong reasons. Justice and common sense require comprehensive reform."

The report makes several recommendations for reform, including:

  • Reduce sentences for those convicted of drug-related crimes.
  • Restore judicial discretion and end mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses.
  • Develop and invest in a statewide alternative to incarceration model to provide supervised treatment, education and employment training for those who would be better served by diversion than by prison.
  • Provide retroactive sentencing relief for those already incarcerated under the Rockefeller drug laws.

"Faced with a major recession and a multi-billion dollar budget deficit, New York cannot afford to waste hundreds of millions of dollars locking up nonviolent drug offenders," Lieberman said. "Money saved through reforming the drug-sentencing laws could be spent helping struggling New Yorkers get back on their feet."

The Assembly has done its duty. Now it is up to the state Senate and Gov. David Patterson (D) to come up with a real reform bill at least as good as the Assembly's.

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