Pros and Cons of Recent Rockefeller Reforms
The reforms represent the beginning of the end for the Rockefeller Drug Laws. But there is still work to be done.
- The reforms restore judicial discretion for broad categories of individuals charged with drug offenses, including many individuals convicted of second felony drug crimes.
- The reforms provide for a significant increase in funding for drug treatment and rehabilitation programs in prisons and for community-based alternatives to incarceration.
The reforms provide for a greater role for the State’s Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services in monitoring and guiding drug treatment programs in prisons.
Some individuals currently confined for drug offenses will be able to petition the courts for a reduction in their sentences.
- Some mandatory sentencing provisions remain on the books and will continue to catch in their net large numbers of low-level persons convicted of drug crimes who will face lengthy prison terms.
- The main criterion for guilt remains the weight of drugs found on people at the point of arrest–not their role in the transaction–a provision that will likely perpetuate the disproportionate policing of New York’s low-income communities of color, where drugs are more likely to be dealt on the street and it is easier to make arrests.
- Only about 1,500 of the nearly 12,000 people currently incarcerated under the laws will likely be eligible for retroactive resentencing.
Correctional Association of New York releases “Solitary at Southport: A 2017 Report Based Upon the Correctional Assn.’s Visits, Data Analysis, & First-Hand Accounts of the Torture of Solitary Confinement from One of New York’s Supermax Prisons”
New York, NY (December 13, 2017): Today The Correctional Assn. of NY (CA), founded in 1844 and one of the oldest prison watchdog organizations in the country, released a 92-page report providing graphic first-hand depictions of physical, mental, and emotional abuse as a result of days, weeks, and often years of being caged in solitary confinement for 23 to 24 hours a day.Read More
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“Prison Within Prison: Voices of Women Held In Isolated Confinement in New York” is a collection of oral and visual observations from twenty women about their experiences being held in isolated confinement in New York’s women’s prisons and Rikers Island. They are advocates and leaders on a range of issues in the movement to end [...]Read More
WOMEN AND ISOLATED CONFINEMENT Women held in isolated confinement are subjected to dehumanizing treatment—treatment that makes it difficult for them to maintain their dignity, hygiene, nutrition and personal property. They can get in trouble for something as simple as attempting to talk to the person next to them. They are denied commissary privileges which provide [...]Read More