Assemblywoman Jacobs Says New State Budget Reforms Ineffective Rockefeller Drug Laws
Legislation restores judicial discretion, imposes harsher penalties for violent drug offenders and drug kingpins
March 30, 2009
Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs (D-Flatbush) announced that the 2009-2010 state budget includes reform of the 35-year-old Rockefeller Drug Laws that mandate minimum sentences for many lower-level, non-violent drug offenders – but maintains maximum penalties. The reforms will save New York taxpayers some of the millions of dollars it costs to incarcerate these offenders – and make the criminal justice system more effective and fair in such cases – by:
- restoring sentencing discretion to judges;
- making probation a sentencing option;
- expanding other sentencing and substance abuse treatment options; and
- providing a framework for the successful reentry of drug offenders into society after completing their sentences.
- allow sealing of the convictions of those qualifying and passing through the diversion programs;
- allow courts to consider new sentences for class B drug offenders remaining in prison under the old drug laws except those with a history of violent felony convictions;
- expand shock incarceration eligibility with the Department of Correctional Facilities (DOCS) consistent with the governor’s proposal;
- expand the Comprehensive Alcohol and Substance Abuse Treatment program to provide treatment to additional individuals in prison;
- allow a judge to order qualifying individuals physically unable to participate in the DOCS shock incarceration program to get a less physically demanding version of the shock incarceration program; and
- expand drug treatment in DOCS facilities in accordance with the governor’s proposal.