Pubdate: Tue, 04 Jul 2006
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2006 The New York Times Company
Author: Anita Marton
Bookmark: (Rockefeller Drug Laws)
Bookmark: (Treatment)


To the Editor:

The Rockefeller drug law reforms already enacted provide important 
relief from some of the harshest sentencing laws in the country 
("Prosecutor Questions Drug Law Reforms," news article, June 27).

But although 70 to 80 percent of those charged in the criminal 
justice system have a drug or alcohol problem, these reforms did not 
enable even one additional addicted person to be sent to treatment 
instead of prison.

A study conducted by the Legal Action Center found that thousands of 
people who have never been convicted of any violent offense are 
incarcerated on drug charges every year, some on first offenses, some 
on second. Many are addicted and committed low-level offenses. 
Sending them to treatment instead would save lives and, according to 
another of our studies, $160 million a year.

We hope that the next round of drug law reform will enable judges and 
prosecutors to send more nonviolent addicted individuals to treatment 
instead of prison.

Anita Marton

Vice President

Legal Action Center

New York, June 29, 2006
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