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New York Finds Mandatory Minimums Rarely Impact Major Drug Dealers


April 1993

Although New York state's prison population has grown fivefold in the 20 years following tough mandatory drug sentences, most of the imprisoned drug offenders have been relatively low-level addict-dealer's, according to a recent report in the New York Times (Francis Clines, "Tough Sentences For Low-Level Drug Felons: 20 Years After Law Mandating Prison Terms, Few Of Targeted Kingpins Fill Cells," New York Times, 3/23/93, B1).

New York's experience is similar to the federal experience with mandatory minimums. With the state prison population now at 62,000, more than one in three inmates are serving largely nonviolent drug felony terms. Forty-five percent of all new inmates last year were convicted on drug charges. Under state law, low-level, nonviolent drug offenders may receive longer sentences than those convicted of rape or manslaughter, "The Correctional Association of New York, Basic Prison and Jail Fact Sheet, dated February 1993."

For copies contact The Correctional Association, 135 East 15th Street, New York, New York 10003, (212) 254-5700.