BY: STEVEN McCANN
It was one of those victories that grassroots advocates sometimes never get to see: a repeal of legislation. To bring about this year’s reform of the Rockefeller Drug Laws, it took decades of organized criticism, lobbying, lawsuits, and the rise of a sympathetic governor who once got himself arrested protesting the very existence of the drug policy. So when the reforms were reached this past spring, the celebration spread wide. In October the long awaited reforms to the Rockefeller Drug Laws went into effect. Now the waiting game begins to see if anyone will notice.
While the 2009 modifications of the Rockefeller Drug Laws removed mandatory sentencing in some situations, many involved in the fight for reform argue that the changes that have been instituted are not enough to combat what they feel is the bigger problem: a justice system that does not treat all citizens equally. Which means that the hard fought fight might not make much real life difference.
BY: CHARLIE PAYNE
When Mark Hunter returned to civilian life after his fifth round of prison, he knew he needed change. He wanted to say good-bye to the cycle of prison, drugs, and burglary—a lifestyle that, simply, wasn’t working. But with little support structure in place for those reentering public life, what’s a 40-year-old with a two-decade prison record to do?
“I wanted a change,” says Hunter. “But the mechanics of life outside prison made it impossible.”
Everything turned around for Hunter when he found The Doe Fund, a non-profit organization that provides job opportunities for unemployed individuals in New York City. Founded in 1985, the organization has grown from a small group feeding homeless people in Grand Central Station to a full-service provider of everything from housing to advocacy work.