Press Release  | 08/13/2004

More Bad Faith, Hollow Rhetoric from Albany Republicans

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Bruno Shuts Down Last Hope for Rockefeller Reform, After Months of Promising to Make a Deal with Assembly

As recently as this morning, representatives of Senate Majority leader Joe Bruno and Governor George Pataki were meeting to hammer out a deal that would accomplish modest Rockefeller reform. Despite months of promises to deliver reform of these notorious drug laws, today, Bruno walked away from the negotiations, effectively shutting them down.

Insiders report that this week's meetings represented the closest Albany had ever gotten to reforming these unpopular laws. Members of the Real Reform 2004 coalition spoke out against the fact that Bruno shut down this unprecedented opportunity.

"People are languishing in prison because Bruno and Pataki won't walk their talk," says Michael Blain, of the Drug Policy Alliance. "They've made countless promises to reform these inhumane laws, but their lip service does nothing for the families whose lives have been destroyed."

Advocates promised to keep the heat on Pataki and Bruno. "We will continue to fight these unjust laws until we achieve real Rockefeller reform," added Blain. "If the Republican Senate is unwilling or unable to keep its promises, it may be time to elect politicians who aren't so dysfunctional. There will be consequences."

Real Reform 2004 defines Real Reform as:

  • Reducing sentences to levels proportionate to those for other non-violent crimes, and to bring New York into line with national standards.
  • 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.
  • Delivering retroactive sentencing relief to currently incarcerated Rockefeller inmates serving unjustly long sentences.
  • Expanding drug treatment programs and other alternatives to incarceration for diverted low-level offenders.

Tony Newman at (646) 335-5384 or Michael Blain at (646) 335-2241

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