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Letter: Working to Drop the Rock (The Nation)

To the editor:

Not to diminish the accomplishments of the Working Families Party [“Noted: Row E for Obama,” Nov. 10], but real reform of New York’s Rockefeller drug laws is still to come. Amendments adopted in 2004-05 left in place the harsh mandatory sentencing scheme that requires judges to lock up thousands of nonviolent offenders every year.

The cost of this scheme–measured in wasted lives and wasted dollars–is astronomical. And that cost is borne overwhelmingly by African-Americans and Latinos. Justice and common sense require comprehensive reform. This will require Governor David Paterson’s leadership. He can count on the support of the NYCLU’s 48,000 members, who will mobilize statewide to overhaul the Rockefeller drug laws in 2009.

Robert A. Perry and Udi Ofer

Perry and Ofer are legislative director and advocacy director, respectively, with the New York Civil Liberties Union.

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