Streams

 

Alfred Blumstein

WNYC News

Reform the Rock?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Protest signs are held aloft at a rally May 8, 2003 in New York City calling for the repeal of the Rockefeller drug laws. (Getty)

Protest signs are held aloft at a rally May 8, 2003 in New York City calling for the repeal of the Rockefeller drug laws. (Getty)

At City Hall today, Council members heard suggestions on reforming New York's 36-year-old Rockefeller drug laws. Critics of the law say the mandatory 15-year sentence for a first time conviction for selling or possessing two ounces of a controlled substance is too harsh. Simone-Marie Meeks of the New York Academy of Medicine thinks reforms need to include integrating government and medical professionals.

The NYCLU provided a report citing criminologist Alfred Blumstein: “That with respect to drug offenses, the much higher arrest and conviction rates for blacks are not related to higher levels of criminal offending, but can only be explained by other factors, including racial bias.”

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