Persuasive Essay On Drug Reform

790 Words2 Pages

Due to the high drug epidemic in the 1960’s and 1970’s there was a call to change the laws surrounding the penalties for drug possession. This began as an effort to reduce the sale and use of illicit drugs. This law was known as the Rockefeller Drug Laws. The law stated that if a person was in possession of four ounces of narcotics the minimum sentence would be fifteen years to life. This was approximately the same about of time as someone being sentenced for second-degree murder. This was one of the most abrasive moves taken in the war against drugs. There were several issues surrounding this laws; should those convicted be better served in a treatment facility, the conviction rate was still high but crime did not go down, and rising recidivism rates for non-violent offenders. In April of 2009, the state legislature that removed the Rockefeller Drug Laws. The reform shifted away from mass incarceration towards a public health model. The two key components of this reform were to remove the mandatory minimum sentences, and restoration of judicial discretion to order treatment and rehabilitation as an alternative to incarceration. Since the reform the legislation has been constantly making revisions to the law. It has added the removal of prison mandates and created more judicial diversion programs, such as drug courts. The drug courts were initially started in the early 1990’s and had a unique style of per individual for rewards and consequences based off their actions in the hopes to help them successfully re-enter the community. With that model it leaves a lot of grey area and is very subjective, stricter laws later reformed this idea. When judicial power was restored to the judges they than had the power to place clients in dr... ... middle of paper ... ...m they will reside at Riker’s till the court discharges them which usually has a quick turn around time. They must than complete the drug programs and in most cases their sentences are lowered or charges are lowered. This supports the rehabilitation model versus retribution. While working at Riker’s I can see the emotional strain that parole causes on clients. The constant checking in, and meeting here, and drug testing is overwhelming and cumbersome. My clients specifically committed there crimes almost 20 years ago. They are both in well into their late 40’s and 50’s. My clients find it difficult to consider themselves an adult. They both maintain drug free lives but still have to report to parole. They constantly have an authority figure about them dictating their lives. Clients reported their mishaps with parole stem from their resistance to report to parole.

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