recently had dinner with my dear friend, Russell Simmons in NYC, and we
got into an in depth conversation about something that I didn’t know a
whole lot about. He told me about how, a couple weeks ago, he
was standing side by side with Governor David Paterson of New York
when, with one stroke of a pen, he ended the Rockefeller Drug Laws once
and for all. For the past seven years, Russell has been a
leading member of a campaign to end the Rockefeller Drug Laws, which
started mandatory minimum sentences in 1973 (meaning that if you get
busted for drugs, you get automatic sentencing, even if you’re an
addict or are non-violent). I learned during our conversation
that since the “War on Drugs” began in the 70’s, America has gone from
incarcerating 200,000 people to 2.4 million this year.  When he told me that, I was shocked!! How did we get to this point where so many people are in prison? I
am not an expert in this area, and honestly, I have never really paid attention to
this issue in the past, but it doesn’t seem like we are on the right
path. I wonder why we put so many people in prison and treat so many drug users like criminals? Surely the best thing to do would be to get help for those who need it, instead of ignoring the problem and throwing them in jail, to take up spaces that should be filled with criminals… not addicts. A lot of people need support and treatment, and to be treated like individuals who need help, not criminals who need to be locked away in a cell. This is an issue that affects our whole nation, not just New York, so, I asked Russell how I could help. 


the success of the Rockefeller Drug Law campaign, he was recently
approached by the White House and the US Attorney General to support
them in a major initiative to reform the criminal justice system
nationwide.  He asked me if I would join him on this journey.  I
was humbled since I definitely need to learn more, but I will count on
Russell to teach me more and I am ready to dive into this issue and
speak to anyone who is willing to listen.  And I know that if our generation decides that something needs to be changed, we will make that change.

What do you guys thing about this issue? It’s one I haven’t brought up before, but I’m sure you guys have some thoughts, and I’d love to hear them!


Comments (99)

  1. ~Nana~  |   Posted on May 5th, 2009

    Good Afternoon Kim!
    Is anything I could do to help also? I don’t think it is right that we as a nation will let off someone who has murdered a person with a 4 year sentence, but someone with drugs could get at least 15 years?

    God Bless,

  2. MamaLA  |   Posted on May 5th, 2009

    Having worked on the prosecution side of things it is my experience that most addicts do not take advantage of the treatment programs offered to them (as an alternative to jail) and continue to reoffend. It is ultimately up to the individual.

    • o-rene  |   Posted on May 5th, 2009

      mamaLa. Sounds as if they didnt go to the right program. I think maybe they need too look into the legal system cuz most of them people have drug issues themselfs and the only reason they get away with it is because of their work. Just a fact…. ty!

      • MamaLA  |   Posted on May 6th, 2009

        We live in different states, here MOST drug related cases (if not violent) are pled to probation. The most common reason for a violation of probation is drug/alchol related. Alot of the time they are reinstated and referred to multiple treatment programs.

      • MamaLA  |   Posted on May 6th, 2009

        It is not until the 3rd sometimes 4th violation that the person will actually see jail. By that time they have little to no time left. I am glad that you were able to help your son and my God bless you.

  3. Mishchuska  |   Posted on May 5th, 2009

    Good Afternoon, I agree with your support of Russell Simmons, I am a foster parent, actually took custody with my fiance’ of his daughter due to the mother being addicted to drugs, its an illness that needs a cure, not a jail sentence!

  4. MissinMyBooboo  |   Posted on May 5th, 2009

    Thanks Kim!! I’ve been reading up on this issue a lot cause my husband just got arrested on Federal drug charges and has to do mandatory minimum 15 years. Federal laws are really unjust and they need to change. Hes a good person & doesn’t deserve that! :(

  5. Piiper35  |   Posted on May 5th, 2009

    I know I will probably get hate mail for saying this, but as a person who has a recovering crack addict as a fiance, I have seen FIRST HAND what addiction can do. I don’t necessarily believe addicts should be thrown in jail, but DEALERS SHOULD BE. PERIOD

  6. Piiper35  |   Posted on May 5th, 2009

    DRUG DEALERS PREY ON(and PROFIT FROM) THE WEAK. And I believe this world would be a better place if they were all locked away.

  7. Robyn  |   Posted on May 5th, 2009

    Kim, I think its great that u feel this way about this topic and I agree w/ u 100% something needs to be done to help this growing problem.I feel there are bigger things the police should be dealing with such as actual crimes not addicts, just as you said.

  8. Pamela  |   Posted on May 5th, 2009


  9. Pamela  |   Posted on May 5th, 2009

    Kim PLEASEE answer me!! Do you ever buy shoe’s from Victorias Secret? They’re amazing and really your style honey! Let me know xoxo

  10. Kiki  |   Posted on May 5th, 2009

    Yes this law definitely needs to be refined. Addicts need help but dealers need to be locked up. There’s a huge difference between the two. If you have federal charges, that means you were dealin and you need to be in jail. But addicts definitely do not. You can get more drugs in jail than you can in the streets. All jail is doin is makin the situation worse. I don’t know anyone who has been locked up and came out clean lol. Never gonna happen. But courts in CA now offer time in jail or time in rehab for addicts. But it still doesn’t work. Sorry, I’m a little skeptical on this topic. We’ve been fighting the “war on drugs” for 40 years and it’s only gotten worse. I don’t think any laws are going to change. Drugs aren’t going anywhere. You can tell kids to say no all you want, but children are a product of their environment. Honestly, I think its only going to get worse.

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