Published : Friday, 27 Mar 2009, 6:52 PM EDT
* Mylous Hairston
ALBANY, N.Y. (WIVB) - New York State wants to drastically reform age-old drug laws. Part of the sweeping plan is designed to provide more help for offenders who are battling addiction.
New York State may be on the verge of a controversial approach to dealing with non-violent drug offenders.
Governor David Paterson (D-New York) said, "We are going to shift our services from punhishment to treatment. We are going to eliminate in most cases and severely reduce in other cases, the mandatory minimums imposed by the Rockefeller drug laws."
Dating back to the 1970s, the laws had been some of the toughest in the nation when it came to deal with offenses. The state of the economy has forced many states to change how they deal with non-violent offenders and parolees.
Democratic leadership in Albany in believes such a move would save taxpayers a quarter of a billion dollars a year. However, local leaders believe taxpayers will pay a lot more in the long run.
Dale Volker (R-State Senate 59th District) said, "I don't see where this is going to save the state a cent. That theory is foolish."
In Albany, leaders talked about drug treatment programs for non-violent offenders.
Volker said, "There's a big problem. The governor's budget cuts treatment dramatically."
Senator Volker held a news conference in Buffalo blasting the deal which may be part of the budget lawmakers are supposed to have in place by April first.
Local Republicans believe the proposed change is being pushed by downstate lawmakers.
Jack Quinn (R-Assembly 146th District) said, "Things that they could never get passed before in the past and things that they want to get done, they are going to get done now in a budget. And they are going to have it done behind closed doors."
Again, if approved, more non violent offenders would end up in drug court and treatment programs.
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In: News, LiveLeaks
Tags: NY, New York, Drug, law, reform, treatment, pot, marijuana,
Location: Albany, New York, United States (load item map)
Marked as: approved
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