Tag: drug law reform (page 2)

NY Assembly to Vote on Reform of Rockefeller Drug Laws Today

35 years of draconian drug offender sentencing may come to a halt in New York as the Assembly votes today on reforming the Rockefeller Drug Laws.

The New York State Assembly is set to vote today on legislation that would allow judges to send drug offenders to substance abuse treatment instead of prison. The legislation would also allow thousands of prisoners jailed for nonviolent drug offenses to have their sentences reduce or commuted.

It’s the latest step in a long campaign to repeal the draconian Rockefeller laws. The laws impose lengthy minimum sentences on drug offenders, even those with no prior convictions. The laws have disproportionately targeted people of color, while giving prosecutors de facto control over how long convicts are jailed.

The Albany Times Union says Just Say Yes to Drug Law Reform. Our post from last week on this is here.

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Rockefeller Drug Laws: Big Changes Ahead

In the good news department, New York's draconian Rockefeller drug laws are expected to take a big blow this week as the legislature is poised to pass new laws granting judges more discretion in sentencing.

The Assembly is expected to pass legislation on Tuesday that would once again give judges the discretion to send those found guilty of having smaller amounts of illegal drugs to substance-abuse treatment instead of prison and allow thousands of inmates convicted of nonviolent drug offenses to apply to have their sentences reduced or commuted.

Meanwhile, the governor’s office is preparing legislation that it plans to present to Senate leaders on Monday that would also give judges discretion in sentencing, according to a senior administration official involved in drafting the bills. But for now, the governor is not taking a position on whether sentences should be reduced for some prisoners.

Mandatory minimums were a terrible and unjust solution to the problems that plagued New York in the '70's. I hope the legislators hold firm and make relief retroactive to those already serving these awful sentences. [More...]

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