Pubdate: Sun, 21 Jul 2002
Source: New York Times (NY)
Section: Editorial/Op-Ed
Copyright: 2002 The New York Times Company
Author: Vincent Schiraldi


To the Editor:

Re "The Ruinous Drug Laws," by Bob Herbert (column, July 18):

On the same day that Mr. Herbert argues for abolishing New York's draconian 
Rockefeller drug laws, you report the release of a survey that found that 
while drug use nationally among teenagers is at an eight-year low, drug use 
among teenagers increased in New York last year (news article, July 18).

If New York is seeing an increase in drug use among its youth, despite the 
fact that a higher percentage of its incoming prisoners are incarcerated 
for drug offenses than any state but New Jersey, perhaps it means that 
prisons are the wrong prescription for curing drug abuse.

The Rockefeller drug laws are proving both unfair and ineffective. It's 
time for New York to kick its addiction to prisons and return sentencing 
discretion to judges, where it belongs.

Vincent Schiraldi, President

Justice Policy Institute

Washington, July 18, 2002
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