Pubdate: Wed, 13 Dec 2000
Source: Newsday (NY)
Copyright: 2000, Newsday Inc.
Contact:  235 Pinelawn Rd., Melville NY 11747
Fax: (516)843-2986
Page: A47
Author: Murray Polner
Bookmark: MAP's link to New York articles
Rockefeller Drug Laws


Former Mayor Ed Koch is on the mark in condemning New York State's
draconian Rockefeller drug laws ["Let's Give Drug Offenders a Second
Chance," Viewpoints, Dec. 8]. These statutes require that anyone, first
time or repeat offender, be sentenced to at least 15 years to life for
selling two ounces or having four ounces of a narcotic substance. These
penalties are much harsher than is often meted out to murders, rapists and
even white-collar criminals who have harmed many more people than drug

More than 22,000 drug offenders, many nonviolent, are now in New York State
prisons. Most of those people sentenced for drugs are nonwhite, though
studies clearly show that the majority of those using and peddling drugs in
New York and the country are white.

As with our national war against drugs, New York's drug laws are an abysmal
failure. Koch is certainly correct in urging support for the bipartisan
Aubry-Volker bills, which would abolish the Rockefeller drug laws and
substitute sentencing regulations permitting judicial discretion and, most
significantly and wisely, alternatives to prison.

Murray Polner
Great Neck
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