“Lockdown, USA,” A Documentary To Reform NY State Drug Law

Anyone who has read this blog knows my position on drugs: I hate the goddammed things and have zero pity for those whose lives get fucked up from using them. If you haven’t the guts to face the shit of life without fucking up your brain, tough shit on you. Millions — if not billions — of people wade through this miserable existence without fleeing to drink or drugs. Those people matter to me; not you fucked-up addicts. Especially you fucked-up addicts who infest the streets of New York City with your fucked-up behavior who make a miserable life even more miserable for me and people like me who don’t use drink or drugs. (I would begin to have sympathy if you fucked-up addicts would at least behave civilly — but it’s not in you, is it? So please die die die! OD ASAP.)

That preface out of the way, I got this in email from The William Moses Kunstler Fund for Racial Justice and I run it because I agree with their stance that treatment is preferable to imprisonment:

For Immediate Release:
June 12
Contact: Douglas Greene 516-242-4666 douggreene@earthlink.net

Screening and Discussion of “Lockdown, USA,” a New Documentary Film about the Rockefeller Drug Laws on Thursday, June 14

Advocates and Family Members Join Together to Demand Gov. Spitzer and Senate Majority Leader Bruno Keep Their Word and Enact REAL REFORM of New York’s Draconian and Inhumane Drug Laws Before Session Ends Next Thursday

New York– On Thursday, June 14, advocates for Real Reform of the Rockefeller Drug Laws and parents of Rockefeller Drug Law prisoners will be discussing Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s and Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno’s failure to act on Rockefeller Drug Law reform as the legislative session enters its final week.

Following the legislative update and comments from parents of Rockefeller drug law prisoners, there will be a screening of a new documentary about the Rockefeller Drug Laws, called Lockdown, USA. The screening is being sponsored by the Real Reform New York Coalition, Cures not Wars and the Drug Policy Alliance.

The evening will conclude with a stand-up comedy performance by Randy Credico, Director of the William Moses Kunstler Fund for Racial Justice, who is featured in the film.

Assembly Bill 6663-A, which was passed by the Assembly on April 18, 2007, would expand drug treatment for people convicted of nonviolent drug offenses, and continue sentencing reform by allowing certain people serving time for “felonies to apply for resentencing” a key piece missing in changes to the law made in 2004 and 2005. The bill would also increase judicial discretion and allow for some people convicted of first- and second-time drug offenses to receive treatment and probation instead of prison.

Companion Senate Bill 4352-A is stuck in the Crime Victims, Crime and Correction Committee, and Senate Majority Leader Bruno and Gov. Spitzer have other legislative priorities before session ends on June 21.

“The last small reform to the Rockefeller Drug Laws was clearly not enough. My son Ashley is a prime example of this, because he is serving a 7 to 21 year sentence for a first time, nonviolent offense,” said Cheri O’Donoghue, who will be speaking. “Senate Majority Leader Bruno, Speaker Silver, and Governor Spitzer have all promised real reform. The Assembly has acted — where are the Senate and the Governor? These inhumane, racist laws have been around for over 34 years, and enough is enough.”

New York’s Drug Law Reform Act of 2004 (DLRA) lowered some drug sentences but it fell far short of allowing most people serving under the more punitive sentences to apply for shorter terms, and did not increase the power of judges to place addicts into treatment programs. While advocates and family members are encouraged by the modest reforms, they are clear that the recent reforms have no impact on the majority of people behind bars. Most people behind bars on Rockefeller charges are charged with nonviolent lower-level or class-B felonies.

Advocates and family members of Rockefeller Drug Law prisoners will be screening Lockdown, USA, a new documentary which follows the unlikely coalition working to change the Rockefeller Drug Laws: outraged mothers and community members, formerly incarcerated people, hip-hop community leaders, and many more. The documentary, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in May 2006 and has screened at film festivals around the world, captures the series of events that forced the political establishment to reconcile with the burgeoning movement to repeal the draconian, racist Rockefeller Drug Laws. Hip-hop megastar and multi-platinum artist Jim Jones released “Lockdown, USA,” a single about the Rockefeller Drug Laws, on May 8, 2007, the 34th anniversary of the Laws.

What: Discussion about the Rockefeller Drug Laws and legislative status of reform bills with Real Reform advocates and families of Rockefeller Drug Law prisoners; Screening of Lockdown, USA follows; Stand-up comedy performance by Randy Credico

When: Thursday, June 14, at 6:30 p.m.

Where: Yippie Museum Cafe, 9 Bleecker Street.

Who: Gabriel Sayegh (Director, State Organizing and Policy Project, Drug Policy Alliance); Wanda Best (wife of Rockefeller Drug Law prisoner Darryl Best, whose story is featured in Lockdown, USA); Ricky and Cheri O’Donoghue (parents of Rockefeller Drug Law prisoner Ashley O’Donoghue); Randy Credico (Director, William Moses Kunstler Fund for Racial Justice).

Go see the embedded YouTube video and the link on that page to get the single as an MP3 file.

And now this coda: Should the laws change to favor treatment over incarceration, and millions of you fucked-up addicts are on the streets and then go on to make life even more miserable than it already is, I swear on the Very Blood Of Christ I will use my last breath to campaign for the death penalty for you motherfuckers. I will be merciless and I will be relentless. So be good if you’re let out. You do not want to fuck with me. I have more willpower than you do and those in power will feel like suckers for having had mercy upon you. They will then listen to merciless people like me, not to you or to your families or to your supporters, so keep that in mind.

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