Originally published 3.9.09
Written by Jesse Muhammad
Russell Simmons and Dr. Benjamin Chavis of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network hosted a live blog discussion today on GlobalGrind.com centered on the continued pressure being applied by the hip -op community to do away with the Rockefeller Drug Laws in NY.
“After nearly four decades, it looks like the Rockefeller Drug Laws may finally be on their way out”, said Simmons. “The New York State Assembly recently passed legislationâ€”A.6085 â€”to significantly reform the failed laws. Now it is up to all of us to make sure that this bill gets to the Governorâ€™s desk without being weakened, so he can sign it into law. It is the time to put to bed the Rockefeller Drug Laws once and for all.”
Simmons further notes that there are approximately 12,000 people in New York prisons under the Rockefeller Drug Laws, more than 90 percent of whom are Black and Latino. “There is no excuse for this disparity–whites and people of color use and sell illegal drugs at approximately equal rates.”
“Why are so many people in prison for drug offenses? Because we continue to treat drug addiction as a criminal issue instead of the public health problem that it is. Nationwide, over 500,000 people are incarcerated on drug offenses, more than any other industrialized nation”, he said.
Dr. Ben says, “Laws like the Rockefeller Drug Laws make criminals of people who are not criminals and then their families and communities are put into greater jeopardy. In other words the injustices of the Rockefeller Drug Laws spread more injustices for the unjustly incarcerated and their family members who also have been victimized.”
What about about our responsibility as community?
“When it comes to this law, we need to make the change now. And when the change happens, the next step is expanding education, treatment and job training opportunities in communities struggling with drug addiction and poverty”, added Simmons. “However, we must look not just at the after effects…we have to re-invest in our communities..in education..in businesses…in after school programs…and definitely prevention.”
Click and read the full dialogue at: BACK OFF OF OPPOSING ROCKEFELLER DRUG LAW REPEAL OR RISK BACKLASH
Also watch below Jim Jones’ latest video on this issue titled “Lockdown USA”