Niagara Gazette


December 26, 2013

GLYNN: A hard look at Rockefeller Drug Laws

Niagara Gazette — It’s a milestone mostly overlooked by the U.S. media focusing so much on President Obama’s health care plan, the inability of federal lawmakers to resolve serious budget issues, and the growing unrest and turmoil around the globe.

In fact, it’s hard to believe that it was 40 years ago when the New York governor and state lawmakers pushed through what became known as the draconian “Rockefeller Drug Laws.” The prime supporter of that legislation was Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller, the state chief executive from 1959 to 1973. Those laws increased the penalties for selling or possessing a few ounces of drugs, like heroin or marijuana, to a minimum of 15 years to life in prison.

“We arrested millions of people and built new jails in the state,” said Brian Mann, a reporter for North Country Public Radio and director of the Prison Time Media Project, an effort that has evaluated the effects of the failed drug laws.

Mann lashes out at the revisionist historians who contend that the drug laws were nothing more than the white people’s attack on black people. “In fact, the black community staunchly supported those Draconian (drug) laws,” Mann argues. The bottom line, he adds, “Those laws simply didn’t work. They didn’t stop it (drug traffic). They just put millions of people behind bars.”

It’s time to re-think the problem and, more importantly, the way society deals with it, according to Mann who was a recent guest on popular PBS program “New York Now” (WNED-TV).


DELAY CITED: Reporters covering Gov. Cuomo’s final cabinet conference of the year were eager to find out the status of the long-awaiting state Department of Health report on the potential impact of hydrofracking on the environment. State Health Commissioner Dr. Nirav Shav, a Buffalo native, said his department needed more time to study the findings. When a reporter reminded Shav that he had predicted in January that the report would be released soon, the physician said: “It will be released when I complete the study of the findings.” Hydrofracking, or fracking as it’s called, is a process of drilling to extract oil and natural gas from shale rock formations. At present, New York State has a ban on the process until, Cuomo has made it clear a decision will not be made until results of the health study are reviewed.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • NIA Bradberry, Bill mug BRADBERRY: Neither long ago, nor far away ... If you did not catch documentary filmmaker Ken Burns' latest masterpiece, "The Address" on PBS last night, it will be well worth your time to look for the re-run, or to find it online as soon as possible.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Editorial: Let's go Buffalo! It could be a whole lot of sweet nothings being whispered in our collective ears, but talk about a Buffalo Bills stadium in Niagara Falls, has us chanting "Let's Go Buffalo." Already there are doubters all over town, who just don't want to get their hopes up. We're hearing people say they're reminded of the time those developers of the Mall of America flirted with the Falls when they were shopping for a location for their super mall. They eventually chose another city, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

    April 16, 2014

  • NIA Confer, Bob Mug CONFER: Don't go soft on teenage criminals New York is one of two states â€" North Carolina being the other â€" that automatically prosecute 16- and 17-year-olds as adults in misdemeanor and felony cases. Other states do so only on a conditional basis at the whim of the presiding judge.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Higgs, Norma mug HIGGS: Gothic architecture -- a fitting structure for church services Before we get involved in the new church building, we need to know what happened to the former structure on First Street which was utilized for St. Peter's Church services for 30 years until 1880 when the present stone church was ready for use.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • GUEST VIEW: NTCC's 'regional approach' aids all local tourism

    April 14, 2014

  • GLYNN: Local interest mounts in India's big election A number of people whose families have emigrated from India to the U.S. -- a solid sector of the hotel and restaurant business in the Niagara area -- are expected to hear a message today directly from the homeland.

    April 13, 2014

  • SINGER: Locating the next Shaq or Bird? With hallowed college hoops programs thriving around here, plus March NCAA games held in Buffalo (featuring champ-to-be UConn, upstart Dayton and a winnowed 'Cuse), will some new Shaq or Bird be located?

    April 13, 2014

  • Rick Pfeiffer COPS NOTEBOOK: Road rage and turkey shooting

    It would be fair to say Ryan Jackson, of Youngstown, has had a difficult couple of weeks.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Smith, Doug and Polly LETTERS FROM THE ISLAND: Chronicling crime on the 'Island' Why is Rick Pfeiffer never around when you need him? The guy whose cubicle we shared during the Koop-Jasen-Rice era at Channel 4 now carefully chronicles criminals for the Gazette, notably those a few flakes short of Raisin Bran, but his crime wave is a mere ripple compared to ours.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Hamilton, Ken mug HAMILTON: The mirrors of my grandfather's fingernails What we do or don't do will have a greater impact upon our grandchildren's futures than what you might think.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge US Supports Ukraine's Efforts to Calm Tensions Suspect in Kansas Shootings Faces Murder Charges Ukraine: Military Recaptures Eastern Airport Raw: Storm Topples RVs Near Miss. Gulf Coast NASA Showcases Lunar Eclipse Pistorius Cries During Final Cross-Examination The Boston Marathon Bombing: One Year Later Michael Phelps Set to Come Out of Retirement First Women Move to Army Platoon Artillery Jobs Sex Offenders Charged in Serial Killings Police: Woman Stored Dead Babies in Garage OC Serial Murder Suspects May Have More Victims Family: 2 Shot in Head at Kan. Jewish Center Raw: Horse Jumping Inspires 'Bunny Hop' After Attack, Officials Kill 5 Bears in Florida Popular Science Honors Year's Top Inventions ND Oil Boom Attracting Drug Traffickers
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page