drug policy, criminal law, human rights


This is a transcript from the the first of three panels on drug policy and the impact of drug policy on the justice system and human rights. Don Johnson of the New York Society for Ethical Culture and Tom Haines the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Partnership for Responsible Drug Information introduced the moderator Kathy Rocklen. Judge Sweet of the Southern District of New York is joined by experts on drug policy from the medical and academic worlds, private foundations and other interested organizations, who will give their views on the impact of drug policy on the justice system and on human rights. Judge Sweet believes the current policy of criminalizing the use and the commerce of particular mind-altering substances has failed of its purposes, has weakened the justice system, and impinged upon human rights. Judge Sweet believes that criminal sanctions should be removed and our society should be educated about the use of drugs, all drugs, and that to the extent that drugs create a problem for the society, that problem be considered an issue of public health. Judge Sweet’s remarks are followed by a question and answer period in which panelists and the audience will participate, as well. The panelists are Ernest Drucker, Professor of Epidemiology and Social Medicine at Montefiore Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine; Robert Gangi, executive director of the Correctional Association of New York; Julie Stewart, who is the founder and president of Families Against Mandatory Minimum; Richard Stratton, the editor-in-chief of “Prison Life” magazine; and Carol J. Weiss, addiction psychiatrist and Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Public Health at Cornell Medical Center.



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