Pubdate: Fri, 27 Jul 2001
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2001 The New York Times Company
Section: Editorial/Op-Ed
Author: Anita R. Marton


An Improved Drug Plan in Albany (July 25, 2001)

To the Editor:

It is heartening that Gov. George E. Pataki has introduced a sentencing 
reform proposal that includes Class B felons charged with selling drugs 
(editorial, July 25). Many of these nonviolent, addicted individuals have 
no substantial role in the drug trade, yet receive severe prison sentences.

It is problematic, however, that the proposal would require these 
individuals to get treatment in prison before becoming eligible for 
community-based treatment. This continues the practice of filling prisons 
with nonviolent addicted offenders who could receive effective treatment in 
less expensive community settings. Real sentencing reform must give judges 
discretion to sentence nonviolent individuals to court-supervised, 
community-based treatment. Reform must also include increased financing for 
treatment to accommodate increased diversion.

ANITA R. MARTON New York, July 26, 2001 The writer is senior attorney, 
Legal Action Center.
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