This report empirically shows the benefits that can happen if a state reforms its excessively punitive drug control laws. "In 2009, the latest in a series of reforms essentially dismantled New York State’s Rockefeller Drug Laws, eliminating mandatory minimum sentences for people convicted of a range of felony drug charges and increasing eligibility for diversion to treatment … [The] drug law reform, as it functioned in the city soon after the laws were passed, led to a 35 percent rise in the rate of diversion of eligible defendants to treatment. Although the use of diversion varied significantly among the city’s five boroughs, it was associated with reduced recidivism rates, and cut racial disparities in half." Sections of this report include: introduction; expanding access to treatment; differences in diversion within the city; beyond diversion—broader consequences of drug law reform; narrowing racial differences; improving public safety; the cost of drug law reform; and conclusion and recommendations.
<p>“Youth who run away from home, routinely skip school, and engage in other risky behaviors [status offenses] that are prohibited precisely because of their young age are acting out in ways that should concern the adults in their lives. They need appropriate attention—but not from the juvenile justice system” (p. 1). Sections of this report discuss: the rise and fall of status offense cases handled in court (1995-2010); common status offenses—truancy, liquor law violations, runaway, ungovernability, and curfew violations; why courts are poorly suited to deal with status offense cases; what the characteristics are of an effective community-based approach for assisting youngsters charged with status offenses; whether community-bases responses work—yes if done well with examples being in Florida, New York State, Calcasieu Parish (Louisiana), Rapides Parish (LA), and Clark County (Washington State).</p>