Some 1,000 New York State prison inmates may be eligible for resentencing under a reform of the Rockefeller-era drug laws that took effect yesterday, the New York Daily News reports. “This is a day for second chances,” said Gov. David Paterson at Brooklyn Supreme Court, marking the change he signed into law in April.
Under the former harsh drug laws, “Families were broken, money was wasted and we continued to wrestle with a statewide drug problem,” Paterson said. The laws forced many low-level drug offenders into life sentences for minor crimes. Under the new law, no one has an automatic right to be resentenced. Rather, judges will look at inmates on a case-by-case basis. The new law will expand drug-treatment programs and, Paterson noted, creates harsher penalties for “drug kingpins.”