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New York Republicans 
Seek More Treatment 
for Nonviolent Drug Offenders

By SOMINI SENGUPTA

GORSKI-CENAPS Web Publications
www.tgorski.com
Published On: March 15, 2001          Updated On: August 07, 2001
© Terence T. Gorski, 2001

Terry Gorski and Other Members of the GORSKI-CENAPS Team Are Available To Train & Consult On Areas Related To Addiction & Mental Health
Gorski - CENAPS, 17900 Dixie Hwy, Homewood, IL 60430, 708-799-5000 www.tgorski.com, www.cenaps.com, www.relapse.org 

Senate Republican leaders weighed in today on the debate over drug offenders with a $20 million proposal to expand treatment programs for nonviolent drug felons.

The measure, announced by the Senate majority leader, Joseph L. Bruno, at a news conference this afternoon, would allow prosecutors to send drug offenders with substance abuse problems to treatment instead of to prison. The money would cover an 18- to 24-month treatment program for about 800 felons a year and would finance the creation of additional treatment slots in the state prison system, job training for incarcerated drug offenders and treatment options after prison.

The Senate proposal does not directly address the efforts by the governor and the Democratic leadership of the Assembly to ease the state's stringent mandatory drug-sentencing laws. Mr. Bruno said today that he was reviewing the proposals, but would not talk about them.

The Senate proposal says nothing about the range of mandatory sentences, nor about whether judicial discretion ought to be expanded — the two most contentious issues in drug law reform, both of them vigorously opposed by prosecutors. Instead it focuses strictly on expanding treatment for criminals who are, as Mr. Bruno put it, "alcoholics and people who are drug-afflicted."

Under the state's Rockefeller-era drug laws, judges must abide by a range of minimum and maximum prison terms, based on the weight of the drugs seized on the defendants and their prior felony records. After years of public pressure to soften those laws, Democrats and Republicans seem poised to make some changes this year, though differences among them remain.

The governor's bill would reduce some of the mandatory minimum sentences and offer judges slightly more discretion over sentencing. The Assembly's proposal would provide more judicial discretion and would lower mandatory minimum sentences even further. The Assembly also seeks to expand treatment places by using savings from the decline in the prison population; it proposes to use 75 percent of an estimated $160 million in annual savings to develop 2,000 treatment slots.

Terry Gorski and Other Members of the GORSKI-CENAPS Team Are Available To Train & Consult On Areas Related To Addiction & Mental Health
Gorski - CENAPS, 17900 Dixie Hwy, Homewood, IL 60430, 708-799-5000 www.tgorski.com, www.cenaps.com, www.relapse.org

This article is copyrighted by Terence To Gorski.  Permission is given to reproduce this article if the following conditions are met:  (1) The authorship of the article is properly referenced and the internet address is given;  (2) All references to the following three websites are retained when the article is reproduced - www.tgorski.com, www.cenaps.com, www.relapse.org, www.relapse.net; (3) If the article is published on a website a reciprocal link to the four websites listed under point two is provided on the website publishing the article.
 

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