Skip to main content

For Find Out Friday - What is the Connection Between a Former New York Governor and a Set of Infamous Drug Laws?

Last week wrote about my visit to Kykuit (, the family home of John D. Rockefeller. His son Nelson was the last member to inhabit the home before it was open to the public.

But Nelson wasn't known simply because he was a Rockefeller but also because he served fourteen years as the Governor of New York. New York State has no term limit and elections are held every four years. Governors serve as long as they are re-elected. 

After fourteen terms as Governor, Nelson Rockefeller spent three years as the Vice President of the United States under President Gerald Ford.

As Governor all those years, Rockefeller had many accomplishments such as creating a breakfast program for low income children in schools, expanding assistance under Medicaid, and establishing the state’s first major support of the transportation system. 

Crime under Governor Rockefeller was dealt many blows. One was doubling the size of the State Police Academy. Another was to abolish the death penalty (only legal for cop killers). He also tossed out two stage trials where punishment was doled out in a separate phase. 

Despite all this, when it comes to crime Nelson Rockefeller is most commonly associated with the infamous drugs laws that bear his name. 

In 1967 Rockefeller established the Narcotic Addiction and Control Commission whose goal was to get addicts clean. However they were not successful. 

In response the Maintenance Program was launched. Sadly this too had little effect.

With criticism and concern growing Rockefeller decided to act. In 1973 legislation was passed that increased the mandatory sentence for possessing four ounces of any narcotic to a minimum of fifteen years. 

The result was not positive. While there was a significant increase in arrests there was no decrease in the number of addicts or related crime. 

In 1977 the part of the law regarding marijauna was repealed by subsequent Governor, Hugh L. Carey. This is a bit funny to me considering I hadn't heard about Carey until I did a blog about him ( not too long ago.

Though these drug laws were meant to change the circumstances for the better it didn’t. Many argue that they disproportionately and negatively affected minorities especially black and latino youths from low income regions. 

In 2004 Governor Pataki decided to take action against the Rockefeller laws. He signed the Drug Law Reform Act (DLRA). The DLRA reduces the mandatory minimum sentence to anywhere from between eight to twenty years, allowing for flexibility depending on the severity of the offense.

This law would allow judges to have discretion over sentences and allow first time non-violent offenders to attend rehab instead of jail if they plead guilty. After treatment they would reappear before the judge. There would be an additional fifty-million dollars given to these drug courts.

Most recently, in 2009, the New York Penal Law and the New York Criminal Procedure Law was changed to allow judges to have full say over sentencing for drug related crimes. They can sentence those who plead guilty to shorter sentences, or even probation, or drug treatment. Drug treatment is called as Judicial Diversion. Before this rule drug treatment had to be approved or suggested by prosecutors. 

Currently our country jails more people, five times more to be precise, than Britain or Spain. Considering how many people we jail it boggles my mind that each of those costs tax payers approximately fifty-thousand dollars per year.

In a twist of cruel irony, the 1970s experienced high rates of heroin overdoses, which ultimately led to the Rockefeller drug laws, and crimes relating to those who were addicted. Nowadays the drug that is killing more and more people by leaps and bounds is Fentanyl, heroin’s more deadly prescription based cousin. I had a bad experience with the drug after being given it by an ignorant doctor as treatment for my chronic migraines ( If I hadn't become sick who knows where that could have led me. 

So if the Rockefeller laws weren't enough to curb drug sales and abuse we need to find something that will. People are dying too fast to wait and see. 

For More Information:


Popular posts from this blog

For Find Out Friday - Why Do Emery Boards Make My Skin Crawl?

You know that sound a fingernail makes when it scratches against a chalkboard?  You know that feeling the sound of that action gives you? I, like most people, hate that sound.  I instantly feel like scrunching my shoulders up to my neck and closing my eyes.  I feel the exact same way when I am using an emery board to file my nails. This annoying sensation has a name: “grima” which is Spanish for disgust or uneasiness. This term basically describes any feeling of being displeased, annoyed, or dissatisfied someone or something.  It is a feeling that psychologists are starting to pay more attention to as it relates to our other emotions.  Emery boards are traditionally made with cardboard that has small grains of sand adhered to them. It is the sandpaper that I believe makes me filled with grima.  According to studies that are being done around the world, it is not just the feeling that we associate with certain things like nails on a chalkboard or by using emery boards

For My Madness During Migraine Awareness Month

Last weekend as I sat staring at the blank page in front of me, I was still surprised and elated that I had an entire day to myself and unlike past experiences it was filled with what I wanted when I wanted it. There were a few rough moments but when I consider the previous twelve hours (and the days to come) have been better than the last week. Especially this last week even though I had braced myself ahead of time, I just didn’t know I should have braced for a more serious episode. I am a chronic migraine sufferer for so many years I don’t quite remember when they started exactly which is ironic because I can remember every special event they have ruined. I remember plays or dinners I was at where I don’t remember what happened but I could tell you what I felt minute by minute. It amazing how the mind works, especially when it’s operated by a migraine brain. In the last few years, specifically the last few years since I have been going to the Montefiore Headac

For My 33rd Birthday

As I sit here and begin to write this it is on my last day of my thirty-second year. I hardly know where to start. It is remarkable what a difference a year makes. I am in such a different and many ways better place than I was this time last year. For proof all you have to do is see the date on that blog which was posted on February 17 th of this year. As you will learn much has changed since then. First of all I have left my house since I posted that blog. I don’t just mean out of my house but out of my city. This was the first year I have traveled since 2012 and just like 2013 was a blow to my spirits because I was not able to do so, this year was uplifting because I was able to go and do. I saw many things that were hidden in a file in the back of my mind for so long I felt the dust collecting within me. I knew how badly I yearned to stretch those muscles I use when I plan, photograph, and take a vacation. For me vacations preserv