For 36 years, New York State’s Rockefeller Drug Laws have forced judges to hand down extremely harsh prison terms for the possession or sale of small amounts of drugs. This has resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in wasted state resources, a severe racial disparity in state prisons, thousands of ruined communities, and no decrease in drug use or sales.
We now have an opportunity to enact real reform and put an end to these harsh and wasteful laws. That’s why it’s so important for you to take action today. Contact Governor Paterson today. Help reform the Rockefeller Drug Laws. There’s already momentum on this issue, but we must keep the pressure on.
Last week, the New York State Assembly passed a historic overhaul of the Rockefeller Drug Laws by a vote of 96-46. This bill goes a long way towards reaching many of the goals communities and advocates have spent almost four decades pushing for.
But the fight isn't over. The same progressive bill has now been introduced in the New York State Senate where it faces a much tougher road to passage. Many senators have been intimidated by the scare tactics and misrepresentations of prosecutors who don't want to give up their power over New Yorkers' lives. And recent media reports suggest that Governor Paterson, who was once the strongest champion of Rockefeller reform, wants to cut a deal to put a band-aid on these fundamentally broken laws.
What we need is real reform, not piecemeal fixes.
So, it's up to all of us to remind New York’s lawmakers that power-hungry prosecutors do not run the state. And it's up to all of us to tell Governor Paterson that we need his leadership more than ever right now.
Contact Governor Paterson today. Help reform the Rockefeller Drug Laws. This is the best chance we've seen since the Rockefeller laws were passed in 1973 to actually get real reform of these harsh and wasteful laws.
But, New York’s government will not act if we do not lead the way. After you take action, please consider sharing this information with your friends and neighbors. We need a HUGE outpouring of support for this bill to overpower the prosecutors’ fear-mongering.
This is our chance. Let's go make it happen!
Director, ACLU Drug Law Reform Project
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