Friday, March 27, 2009

Help put a stop to unfair imprisonment

New York's Rockefeller drug laws hurt communities of color. Even though you don't live there, you can help overturn them by getting your friends in New York to take action today

New York State's Rockefeller drug laws mandate extremely harsh sentences for sale or possession of even small amounts of drugs. Like similar laws in other states, the Rockefeller laws disproportionately discriminate against people of color.

The NAACP has been working through our New York State Conference to repeal the Rockefeller drug laws, which, since 1973, have incarcerated thousands of low-level drug offenders and committed over 4,000 people to long prison terms for simple possession alone. Ninety percent are black or Latino -- a number that's disproportionately high for our communities.

Right now, we're poised for a major victory on this issue. The New York State Assembly recently passed reform legislation, and now it's up for a vote in the New York State Senate.

Even if you don't live in New York, we need you to tell your friends and family in New York that their action is needed immediately.

Click here to ask your friends in New York to tell their state senators to vote for reform. By getting your friends involved, you'll be helping to stop a system that is breaking up families, destroying neighborhoods, and costing us millions of dollars that could be much better spent. The Legislature and Gov. Paterson are on the brink of making significant reforms, but they need to hear from New Yorkers this week.

A vote is expected to happen as early as next Wednesday, April 1. The time to act is now!
Please, take a moment to tell your friends, family, and colleagues in New York to contact their representatives as soon as possible. 

Mass incarceration is harming far too many people of color when drug treatment and other approaches would have better outcomes. As we enter the NAACP's next 100 years, I'm calling on you to work towards a vision of an America where we all live in safer communities and law enforcement respects and protects our neighborhoods.

Together, we can reform the Rockefeller drug laws and continue our fight to realize America's promise for all.


Benjamin Todd Jealous
President and CEO

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