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Sentencing commission calls for reform

The Commission on Sentencing Reform issued its final report yesterday calling for major reforms of New York’s drug laws. The report includes a number of recommendations of significance to Odyssey House, given our new parolee program and resources as a community services provider.

The plan would, among other things, double the existing weight requirements for most major felony drug sale and possession crimes, make many lesser first-time felony drug offenders eligible for probation or a jail term rather than mandatory prison, and expand parole as an option for convicted offenders.

“New York must continue to reserve costly prison resources for high-risk, violent offenders while making greater use of community-based alternatives to incarceration,” the report says.

Odyssey House is a strong proponent of alternatives to incarceration: Our newest program at Edgecombe is designed to provide intensive services to parole detainees with the aim of returning them to their communities and engaging them in further addiction treatment.

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