Pubdate: Mon, 26 Mar 2001
Source: New York Daily News (NY)
Copyright: 2001 Daily News, L.P.
Contact:  450 W. 33rd St., New York, N.Y. 10001
Author: Anita R. Marton


Manhattan - Contrary to the assertions of Queens District Attorney Richard 
Brown in "Rockefeller drug laws don't need changing" (Opinion, March 5), 
reform of the laws is necessary to reduce unnecessary and expensive 
incarceration, enhance public safety and ensure that punishments meted out 
by the courts more closely fit the circumstances of the crime and the 
offender. Brown says that most drug offenders who are locked up are 
big-time, violent dealers. According to the state's own statistics, this is 
not true. While many offenders sell small quantities of drugs to support 
their addictions, they are nonviolent. But they are imprisoned because our 
drug laws require those convicted of two felonies to be incarcerated, even 
if they have sold only one vial of crack.

Many of these individuals have never had an opportunity to get treatment. 
These laws waste enormous human and financial resources and fail to address 
effectively the addiction that underlies most drug offenses.

Anita R. Marton, Legal Action Center
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