June 8, 2010
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May 27, 2010
Jackie Peyton can fool an administrator (Ann Deveare Smith, above). She can fool a weird, clingy boyfriend. And a husband. She can even keep the secret of her affair with that weird, clingy boyfriend (Eddie, played by Paul Schulze) from her husband, even after Eddie starts hanging out in her husband’s bar and they become fast friends who go to Mets games together. She can even fool almost an entire nurse staff who work in close proximity, all day, every day–except for one holdout–Sam (Arjun Gupta), the addict who told her way back last season, that “it takes one to know one.”
Jackie is keeping it together, despite her daughter Grace’s (Ruby Jerins) proclivity to yank out clumps of hair–the latest doomsday sign for the child, who now sees a psychiatrist, and who likes to watch shows about nuclear holocausts and wash her hands incessantly for fun. Nurse Peyton even seemed to know her way around that evil Pill-O-Matix machine, the mechanical replacement to her Dr. Feelgood boyfriend Eddie, what we thought was surely set up to be an achiles heel for Jackie this season. Then we see Jackie pull out a list of employee D.O.B.s, and bang–she’s got the right codes to make the machine pop open at will so she can get the goodies she needs.
As it would turn out though, only some of them. Jackie has a P.O. Box, we have learned, where she has her secret credit card bill sent, and when we got a chance to give a glance at the itemized bill, we saw lots of charges she was going to have trouble meeting financially, and they were all from shady online drug stores. Jackie is obviously not getting all the opiates she needs, but she is getting a lot of opiates, which has to make one wonder if she’s popping/snorting 30-50 pills a day, the way a heroin addict would who could only get his hands on Vicodin.
Still, Jackie worked some of her hall of fame deception skills in getting Dr. O’Hara (Eve Best) to write her checks directly for her kid’s schooling, something that O’Hara has pressured Jackie for, for some time. Well, actually the doc wanted to set up an education trust for the girls, but Jackie smoothly guided Dr. O’Hara’s hand to endorse the check to her–despite her husband Kevin’s (Dominic Fumusa) absolute refusal to take the doctor’s money, even if it was for the girl’s education. So Jackie was able to pay the piper, for the time being. but she is addicted to Oxycontin, and prefers the route of nasal ingestion, the true crackhead’s preference, because as she mentioned off hand, like a good little nurse, that it isn’t good to let too many of those OC’s pass through the digestive tract.
Dr. O’Hara with best bud Jacks (above).
Tthough Eddie is back in the saddle as the ward’s pharmacist, Jackie, reluctant to fall back into old habits with Eddie, re-instated as keeper of the Oxy. But it seems that Jackie might have gone to the well too many times with Dr. O’Hara, who she convinced to write her an OC script based on a really fucked up spinal MRI–of someone else’s. Dr. O’Hara, distraught over Jackie’s condition, burst into the radiology department, practically in tears, demanding to know why no one is “helping her friend.” But there is no MRI on file or in the computer for any Jackie Peyton, and Dr. O’Hara wasn’t born yesterday. She’s a little too smart for Jackie’s game, and we’re going to predict, a bit too caring as a friend, and dead serious when it comes to her medical license, to be scripting up a crackhead.
Jacks, as O’Hara calls her, looks as though she might be getting called on the carpet this week, with no excuses befitting the grandeur of this grave situation. Jackie, who never seems out of options, may have played her last drug card, and as we see in the coming attractions, she is making a crying confession to a disappointed Kevin. Is her drug problem the thing she comes clean about, we are left to wonder, is it something innocuous and misleading, or is she finally going to get pegged for whoring herself for pills to Kevin’s new found, and only friend, Eddie?
While Zoe (Merrit Wever) and Lenny (Lenny Jacobsen) continue their flirtation, and while Coop (Peter Facinelli) seems to be flirting a bit with Sam’s girlfriend, Jackie has the really real problems who we doubt Dr. O’Hara will allow her to get away without addressing. And while we are looking into our crystal ball, what might we say about the fate of Grace, who, in a show defined by its main characters misery or not, is headed down a dangerous path?
I could see rehab in Jackie’s future, and relapse, much worse than anything we’ve seen yet, when what looks like the inevitable happens to that sweet but disturbed little girl.
We’d happily be wrong on this one.
May 17, 2010
Rockefeller Drug Laws Information Sheet
Prepared by Aaron D. Wilson, Associate Director, PRDI
Brief HistoryIn May of 1973, New York’s Governor Nelson Rockefeller pushed through the state legislature a set of stringent anti-drug laws. Among the most severe in the nation, the purpose of these laws was and is to deter citizens from using or selling drugs and to punish and isolate from society those who were not deterred. “It was thought that rehabilitative efforts had failed; that the epidemic of drug abuse could be quelled only by the threat of inflexible, and therefore certain, exceptionally severe punishment.”1The new drug laws, which have since become known as the “Rockefeller Drug Laws” established mandatory prison sentences for the unlawful possession and sale of controlled substances keyed to the weight of the drug involved. Generally, the statutes require judges to impose a sentence of 15-years to life for anyone convicted of selling two ounces, or possessing four ounces of “narcotic drug” (typically cocaine or heroin). In 1977 The Committee on New York Drug Law Evaluations, a partnership between the Association of the Bar of the City of New York and The Drug Abuse Council, Inc., issued a report2 that was highly critical of the Rockefeller laws. The Committee found that heroin use and heroin-related crime (the major drug concerns at the time) was as widespread in the middle of 1976 as prior to the enactment of the Rockefeller laws in 1973. Despite the expenditure of $76 million and the appointment of 49 additional judges to handle cases under the new law, it was described as a dismal failure.
That same year legislators removed marijuana from the list of substances covered by the Rockefeller Drug Laws, decriminalizing its use and simple possession under 7/8 oz. They were concerned over the large amount of criminal justice resources and prison space being used for marijuana offenders. They felt that criminal prosecution and incarceration were inappropriate penalties for mere possession and use of marijuana. 3
By 1979, in response to extensive criticism, the legislature had amended the laws to increase the amount of drugs needed to trigger the 15-year to life sentence for both sale and possession. In 1988, concern over “crack” cocaine led to a lowering of the weight threshold for cocaine possession to enable the arrest and prosecution of people possessing small amounts of the drug. The Rockefeller Drug Laws have remained essentially unchanged since then. 4Consequences
- Between 1980 and 1992, New York’s prison population has tripled from about 20,000 to almost 62,000 (in 1973 the state’s prison population was approximately 10,000). The State Assembly’s Ways and Means Committee projects that the State prison population will grow to 71,300 by the end of the 1998-99 fiscal year, and to 73,100 by the end of 2001-02. Together with the Second Felony Offender Law, also passed in 1973, the Rockefeller Drug Laws have contributed significantly to the overall growth of the NYS prison population.5
- The percentage of the prison population incarcerated for drug offenses has been increasing since 1973, the year the Rockefeller Drug Laws were enacted, with particularly sharp increases during the 1980’s. These mandatory minimum sentences for drug felonies have increased the percentage of convicted drug offenders who receive prison sentences. As a consequence, the NYS prison population has changed from one in which 9% were serving time for drug felonies (1980) to 32.2% (1997).6
- Since 1981, the State has added about 40,000 beds to its prison system, at an average construction cost of $100,000 each, for a total capital expense, not counting debt service, of approximately $4 billion. 7 Despite these increases, the NYS prison system remains severely overcrowded, forcing prison officials to double bunk or double cell approximately 9,000 inmates. 8Financial costs
- Since the 1982-83 State fiscal year, the share of State General Fund spending going towards the funding of the NYS prison system more than doubled, from approximately 10% to fully 25% of the state’s General Fund State Operations Budget.9
- As of December 31, 1997, there were 8,880 drug offenders in NYS prisons under the Rockefeller Drug Laws. According the Correctional Association of New York, it costs an estimated $265 million dollars to pay for these prisoners to be incarcerated. There were an additional 12,102 drug offenders in NYS prisons under the Second Felony Offender Law, costing an estimated $360 million per year. There were a total of 22,670 drug offenders in the NYS prison system, representing 33% of the total prison population. In 1980 drug offenses represented only 9% of prison commitments. 10
- Since 1989 the yearly budget for the State University of New York (SUNY) has dropped from a little more than $1.3 billion to around $800 million. In the same period, annual spending on prisons in New York has increased from a little less than $1 billion to $1.7 billion.11Racial disparities
In 1997, whites constituted 5.3 percent of the total population of drug felons currently in prison in New York; blacks and Latinos constituted 94.2 percent.12 Among whites committed to prison in 1994, 16% were convicted of a drug offense, among blacks 45% were committed for a drug offense, and among Latinos 59% were committed
Though the harsh, racist Rockefeller drug laws have been reformed, city judges have been slow in some areas to reduce the sentences of those still serving long prison sentences under the old laws. And my current borough, Staten Island has led the way with its especially Draconian judges.
In the seven months since the state Legislature enacted sweeping reforms allowing felons convicted under the harsh Rockefeller drug laws to apply for resentencing, just slightly more than half of those who’ve tried citywide have succeeded in getting their terms shortened.
But the success rate varies widely depending upon the borough — with Staten Island judges turning down almost every comer (nine out of 10) and their Queens counterparts granting two-thirds (22 out of 33).
Under the reformed laws, maximum penalties of 8 1/3 to 25 years have been reduced to a maximum of 9 years.
April 22, 2010
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“No, I didn’t [purposely aim for her.] Listen, stop — listen, it was an accident! Please leave me, alone it was a mistake! Stop it was a mistake!” the 18-year-old screamed. “No, I was on prescription drugs, it was a mistake! Stop! Leave me alone! Leave me alone! Leave me alone! It was a mistake! The car — I’m so sorry! It was a mistake, I didn’t mean to do it! Please, leave me alone! Please leave me alone! Please, it was a mistake! OK — the car went out of control, I was pressing the brake and it wouldn’t go! It was a mistake, I’m sorry!”
Kayla Gerdes, pictured above, of Freeport, Long Island, killed a 69 year old retired doctor who was mowing her lawn, while driving a friend’s van high on the prescription painkiller Oxycontin, per her own admission, yesterday morning.
Gerdes was headed to a court appearance in a male friend’s van as the passenger, but took over the driving duties, because she was apparently unhappy because her friend drove too slowly, ironically enough.
Many things strike us about this accident. To name a few, we’ll start with a photo of the van after the accident:
Notice how the van did more than hit an innocent home owner, it also hit an innocent home, driving across the lawn and smashing through the front of the home. I am wondering how high the guy was who let Kayla Gerdes have the keys to his truck. Kayla’s lawyer was wondering aloud the same thing, blaming the accident on Kayla’s friend’s poor judgment, and calling into question our national health care from the court house steps, saying that Gerdes was in rehab for opiates for a week, but had to leave treatment because her mother’s insurance lapsed.
If you were wondering, Gerdes was on her way to court because she had stolen and hocked her mother’s jewelry. When taken into custody, Gerdes gave the following statement about her remorse:
According to court documents obtained by CBS Radio’s 1010WINS, Kayla Gerdes was quoted in a written statement to police saying: “The thing that made me not feel so bad was she was old,” she said. “I mean, 70 years is a long time to live.”
Indeed. Though her lawyer isn’t doing much better, he should make sure that’s the last of the statements his client makes. Gerdes was also believed to be on the prescription drug Xanax, but did not have prescriptions for Oxycontin or Xanax.
As you read, she did say sorry…