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In 1977 the part of the law regarding marijauna was repealed by subsequent Governor, Hugh L. Carey.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 Find Out Friday - How Do You Milk An Almond?

Despite my affinity for cheese and other dairy products, occasionally (actually a few times a week) I like to go dairy-free.  During those times I rely heavily on my favorite brand of almond milk, as seen in the picture above.  Though I know there is no dairy in this product, I constantly wonder: “how does one milk an almond”? Logically I am aware that no actually “milking” is taking place.  I also know that almond milk can be made at home, although I have zero interest in attempting to make it despite my love of spending time in my kitchen. So, what is the actual process?  How long does it take?  When / where / who was the first to successful develop this product? When talking about this kind of “milk” what we are really talking about is plant juices that resemble and can be used in the same ways as dairy milk. Plant like juice has been described as milk since about 1200 A.D. The first mentions can be found in a Baghdadi cookbook in the thirteenth

For a Doughnut Worthy of Food Network Glory: “Dun-Well Doughnuts”

All because I wanted a Boston creme doughnut. That is how this blog truly began. It was Father’s Day weekend and although I was initially thinking of myself, I knew my father wouldn’t mind having a sweet treat for dessert. Brooklyn is synonymous with great pizza, bread, and of course bagels. But it also has many great bakeries producing some of the most delicious doughnuts you have ever tasted. Just to name a few, there is: Doughnut Plant , Peter Pan Donut & Pastry Shop and Dough .   On the day of my craving, I did what any of us do countless times a day - I opened Google. When I Googled “best Boston creme doughnuts in Brooklyn” Dun-Well Doughnuts appeared high on that list. Intrigued I researched it further and learned that it had won the Canadian  Food Network’s contest called “Donut Showdown” in 2013. That was enough information for me to decide to visit the very next day.  Dun-Well Doughnuts was opened by Dan Dunbar and Christopher Hollowell in December 2011. Despite