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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 77052 Find in a Library
Title: Criminal Justice (From Americans and Drug Abuse, P 37-42, 1977, Christian Kryder and Stephen P Strickland, ed.)
Author(s): B A Manning
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 6
Sponsoring Agency: Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies
New York, NY 10036
Sale Source: Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies
717 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10036
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This conference report of the LEAA-funded New York Drug Law Evaluation Project examines whether behavior in the streets actually changed as a result of the 1973 laws which prescribed severe and mandatory penalties for narcotics offenses in the State.
Abstract: The data offer neither support nor denial of the position that effective, stringent criminal penalties will deter drug use and traffic. This was due to the failure to enforce the New York laws. Given the present condition of law enforcement, the criminal justice system, and the urban environment, these 'Rockefeller Drug Laws' could not be implemented and thus could not work. The project examined the operation of the criminal justice system to determine whether the perceived risk to the potential criminal was significantly increased. It found that despite the change in law, the investment of $34 million, and the creation of 49 new courts, the statistical risk of incarceration for a person who committed a drug-related felony in 1975 was exactly the same as it had been in 1972. About the same level of arrests continued, although there was a reduction in arrests for offenses subject to the most severe penalty. If the indictment and conviction rates had not declined, many more individuals would have gone to jail under the 1973 laws. There has been no ascertainable change in either the heroin drug traffic level or in crime associated with it. The data available provide no significant basis for believing that the 1973 laws repressed what would otherwise have been higher levels of illicit drug use and crime or deterred second felony occurrences. A peculiar and unexplained finding of the project was that in 1973 about 48 percent of all street and property crime in New York City was drug-associated, but that percentage has been falling sharply (in 1976 only 23 percent was drug-associated). Finally, the burden that the new laws placed on the court system was so great that in 1976 the statute was amended to drop the prohibition against plea bargaining. Audience comments and discussions are provided. Footnotes are included.
Index Term(s): Court case flow; Drug law enforcement; Drug law offenses; Drug laws; Drug Related Crime; Failure factors; New York
Note: Presented at the Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies - Drug Abuse Conference, Aspen, Colorado, June 26-30, 1977.
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