Tuesday, March 10, 2009


NYCLU Urges ACTION to End Rockefeller Drug Laws

The New York Civil Liberties Union (the local affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union) sent out the following action alert.

Dear Friend of Reform:

We wrote to you back in January with the news that we believed 2009 would finally be the year for true reform of our state’s mandatory minimum drug sentencing laws.

And check this out: Last week, the New York State Assembly passed a historic overhaul of the Rockefeller Drug Laws by a vote of 96-46. Now is your chance to show your support of the bill! It goes a long way towards reaching many of the goals communities and advocates have been pushing for for almost four decades.

But the fight isn’t over.

The same progressive bill has now been introduced in the New York State Senate where it faces a much tougher road to passage. Many senators have been intimidated by the scare tactics and misrepresentations of prosecutors who don’t want to give up their power over New Yorkers’ lives.

So it’s up to all of us to remind our representatives that power-hungry prosecutors do not run this state. And it’s up to all of us to say to Governor Paterson: We need your leadership more than ever right now.

Click here to send a free fax to the governor and to your state senators urging them to support S. 2855, the best way to move New York in a new direction.

For 36 years, the Rockefeller Drug Laws have forced judges to hand down extremely harsh prison terms for the possession or sale of small amounts of drugs. Though intended to target major dealers, most New Yorkers trapped by the laws are low-level, nonviolent people suffering from substance abuse problems, homelessness, mental illness or unemployment. They are overwhelmingly black and Latino.

Enough is enough. This year is the best chance we’ve seen since the Rockefeller laws were passed in 1973 to actually get real reform of these harsh and wasteful laws. But the state senate will not act if you do not lead the way.

Send your free fax right now. Then forward this email to your neighbors. And your family. And your friends. And your neighbors’ family and friends. We need a huge outpouring of support for this bill to overpower the prosecutors’ fear-mongering.

This is our chance. Let’s go make it happen.

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