NY Advances New Bill To Ease Rockefeller Drug Laws


New York State’s lower house, the Assembly, voted yesterday to ease further the state’s strict Rockefeller drug laws, reports the Albany Times Union. The legislation would increase judicial discretion to order treatment and probation instead of prison for some first- and second-time drug offenders. Excluded are those convicted of violent crimes or sales to children. “The opposition will say we are soft on crime,” said Jeffrion Aubrey, who chairs the Committee on Correction. “But we understand the revolving door of criminal justice and we want to shut that door.”

The changes must be approved by the Republican-dominated Senate. More than 15,000 New Yorkers are incarcerated under the decades-old laws and 94 percent of them are African-American and Latino. Earlier changes lowered some sentences, said Sen. Eric Schneiderman, “But only 177 have gotten out so far and that is clearly not enough. It is unassailable that treatment is more effective than incarceration for reducing crime.”

Link: http://www.timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=582113&category=STATE&newsdate=4/19/2007

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