Friday, August 17, 2018
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As the New York Times reported on March 25, 2009 ("New York Lawmakers Agree to Repeal '70s-Era Drug Laws"), "Gov. David A. Paterson and New York legislative leaders have reached an agreement to dismantle much of what remains of the state's strict 1970s-era drug laws, once among the toughest in the nation." The Times further explains that "The deal would repeal many of the mandatory minimum prison sentences now in place for lower-level drug felons, giving judges the authority to send first-time nonviolent offenders to treatment instead of prison. The plan would also expand drug treatment programs and widen the reach of drug courts at a cost of at least $50 million."
Those legislators made good on their March promise when, as advocacy group Drop the Rock stated on its website, "the NY State Senate voted to reform the Rockefeller Drug Laws" in early April of 2009. Aside from the reforms mentioned by the Times, Drop the Rock also reports that "In some limited cases, people who are currently incarcerated under the Rockefeller Drug Laws will be able to apply for resentencing and release." However, as they remind readers, "this is not the end of the Rockefeller Drug Laws, [but] if we have anything to do with it, it will be the beginning of the end."
For more information, check out the Drug War Chronicle's feature on this development ("New York Assembly Passes Rockefeller Drug Law Reform Bill") and Drop the Rock's website.