Major Accomplishments

Reducing Incarceration:

2013 – Led successful advocacy efforts to create a multi-million dollar, permanent funding stream for New York State alternative-to-incarceration and reentry programs.

2009 Helped lead campaign that won comprehensive reform of the Rockefeller Drug Laws.

After 35 years of research and advocacy, we were proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with state lawmakers in April 2009 to celebrate the newly passed reforms of the Rockefeller Drug Laws. LAC had worked to reform those laws – long seen as overly harsh and counterproductive – ever since they were enacted, over 35 years ago. The new laws adopt a much smarter and more effective response to drug-related crime, moving away from harsh mandatory minimum sentences and making our communities safer by helping to break the cycle of drug use and crime.

2002 Issued study, Drug Law Reform – Dramatic Costs Savings for New York State, finding that reforming the Rockefeller Drug Laws would save over a quarter billion dollars a year.

1984 – Present –  Organized and run the Alternative to Incarceration (ATI) coalition in New York State.  The ATI Coalition’s advocacy has been instrumental in increasing ATI funding by a cumulative total of over $100 million and diverting tens of thousands of otherwise prison-bound individuals to addiction treatment and other community programming.

1979 Carmona v. Ward.  Challenged Rockefeller drug laws’ maximum life sentence for sale and possession of small and medium amounts of heroin and cocaine.  District Court ruled it was unconstitutional cruel and inhuman punishment. Court of Appeals reversed and Supreme Court’s denial of certiorari led to much publicity and legislative repeal of those provisions.

Reducing Criminal Record Discrimination:

2008 – Helped enact the Second Chance Act to support states and localities better addressing the needs of people returning from incarceration to their communities.

2005 – Present  Helped New Yorkers resolve 26,000 legal issues related to their criminal records.  Helped people get jobs, housing and other essentials of life.

2004 – Released the critically acclaimed national report — After Prison: Roadblocks to Reentry, A report on State legal barriers facing people with criminal records.

2001 – Present  Launched the National H.I.R.E. Network, the nation’s first clearinghouse on reentry; H.I.R.E. spearheaded reentry policy reform victories in 20 states.

1979 – Sutherland v. U.S. Postal Service and Connolly v. New York City Transit Authority. Invalidated policies that banned hiring of people with non-job-related arrest and conviction histories.

Promoting Health:

2013 – Present  – Working closely with United States Department of Justice and New York State and City to develop pioneering initiatives to enroll eligible criminal justice population in Medicaid and link them to treatment programs, Health Homes and other needed health care.

1990 – Assisted Brooklyn, NY District Attorney in developing the first Drug Treatment Alternative to Prison (DTAP) program.

Other Notable

2011 – Published Your New York State Rap Sheet: A Guide to Getting , Understanding & Correcting Your Criminal RecordThis booklet, and its companion publications, Lowering Criminal Record Barriers and Criminal Records and Employment, have guided tens of thousands of New Yorkers seeking to overcome the barriers caused by a criminal record.

2007 – Started “rap sheet” project at Riker’s Island Correctional Facility.  The project has helped over 1,300 incarcerated New Yorkers understand their rap sheets and correct common errors.  Participants improve their chances of passing employment-related background checks.

1982Connolly v. New York City Transit Authority.  Settled class action suit challenging the New York City Transit Authority’s policy of refusing to hire people with arrest and conviction histories. Got relief for hundreds of clients and revision of the Transit Authority’s employment practices toward people with criminal histories.

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