Gov. David Paterson and lawmakers agreed Friday to ease up on tough narcotic-related sentencing provisions that were introduced in 1973.
(AP) - New York Gov. David Paterson and legislative leaders have agreed to ease drug laws that were once among the harshest in the nation and led a movement more than 30 years ago toward mandatory prison terms.
The agreement rolls back some of the tougher sentencing provisions pushed through the Legislature in 1973 by then-Gov. Nelson Rockefeller, a Republican who said they were needed to fight a drug-related "reign of terror."
Critics have long claimed the laws were draconian and crowded prisons with people who would be better served with treatment.
Mr. Paterson said Friday that judges will now be able to use techniques like treatment and counseling that have proven more effective than prison for low-level offenders. At the same time, penalties will be toughened for drug kingpins.
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