Thursday, June 14, 2012

Busting the drug-reform myth

This is a letter by Howard Josepher that the New York Post published.

The Issue: Whether New York’s drug-law reform of 2009 has proven successful in reducing crime.

Statistics quoted by Michael Bongiorno, (“Why Crime’s Rising,” PostOpinion, May 24) indicating “soaring crime” and “staggering jumps in violent crime,” do not jibe with the New York state crime report recently published by the Division of Criminal Justice Services.

Bongiorno is right that eliminating mandatory sentencing has not resulted in any substantial increase in diversion to drug treatment. But this is happening because many judges choose not to exercise their new discretion, often preferring to follow the district attorney’s recommendations for jail or prison time rather than treatment. Change comes slowly. While we have yet to see the full benefits of drug-law reform, we should resist a return to draconian laws and spending precious resources on building and filling prisons.

Howard Josepher

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