Albany Legislators Reconvene July 20th and 21st for Rockefeller Talks

Press Release July 13, 2004
Media Contact

Tony Newman at (212) 613-8026 or Elizabeth Mendez Berry at (212) 613-8036

After a conference committee that was designed to hammer out Rockefeller reform and came up empty handed, Albany legislators are taking time out from their summer vacations to come back into session and address the Rockefeller issue. While there is a consensus that something must be done about these unpopular laws, what should be done remains in question. Though Republican Senate Majority leader Joseph Bruno has promised and Governor George Pataki has given lip service to Rockefeller reform, they continue to water down potential agreements to the point that the word ‘reform’ no longer applies. As Albany continues to waffle, advocates are turning up the heat:

1. A series of hard hitting ads will run in New York’s two major Spanish-language dailies, Hoy and El Diario, Washington D.C.’s El Tiempo and the Legislative Gazette

This series of ads starting July 14 questions Governor Pataki’s loyalty to the Latino community. Today’s El Diario features one which reads “Do Bush and Pataki care about our children? Bush sends our parents to war in Iraq for oil. Pataki fills New York prisons with our parents, because of the unjust Rockefeller Laws.” Pataki publicly courts the Latino community with events like his upcoming “Amigos” party at the Republican National Convention, and has given lip service to Rockefeller reform. Privately, however, he is a major obstacle to real reform. For more information about these ads, please contact Randy Credico, (718) 813-0146.

2. Busload of “Survivors of the Rock” drives from Harlem to Albany special session.

On July 21st, the second and last day of this special session, a busload of survivors of the Rockefeller drug laws and their families will be driving from Harlem, New York City to Albany to be present during the latest set of hearings.

3. Latino Community Leaders Hold Press Conference: Pataki “No Amigo” on Rockefeller Drug Laws

Real Reform 2004 defines Real Reform as:

  1. Reducing sentences to levels proportionate to those for other non-violent crimes, and to bring New York into line with national standards.
  2. Restoring judicial discretion so judges can fashion just sentences based on consideration of the particular case, and to sentence low-level offenders to community-based treatment.
  3. Delivering retroactive sentencing relief to currently incarcerated Rockefeller inmates serving unjustly long sentences.
  4. Expanding drug treatment programs and other alternatives to incarceration for diverted low-level offenders.
A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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