Jody L. Miller
Ellen Zoe Golden
JLM PR, Inc.
(212) 431-5227
[email protected]

[email protected]


NEW YORK, N.Y. – DECEMBER 7, 2004 – For more than 30 years , the state of New York has distinguished itself as leading the nation with the most repressive, draconian mandatory minimum sentencing laws, known as the Rockefeller Drug Laws. The Hip-Hop Summit Action Network (HSAN), in coalition with many other organizations, has been involved in a campaign to raise public awareness about the unfairness of the Rockefeller Drug Laws. Today, we are pleased to hear that finally, a bi-partisan legislative agreement has been reached by Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno and State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to reform sentencing provisions of the Rockefeller Drug Laws.

“We are very happy and proud of all of the support and efforts by hip-hop artists and other community activists that helped to bring about today’s agreement to reform the Rockefeller Drug Laws,” acknowledged Russell Simmons, Chairman of HSAN. “Of course we wanted more, but it’s as much as we could have realistically hoped for and we finally broke the stalemate.”

Elaine Bartlett, Rockefeller Drug Laws survivor and author of her life story, “Life On the Outside” and executive director of Life on the Outside Organization, declared, “This breakthrough reform is good, not only for our community but for our children. Too many families have lost their parents and/or children in prison for such a long period of time.  If we have the opportunity now  to reunite 400 people with their families, then we have accomplished a lot. ”  

“The hip-hop community hopes that the new provisions proposed will bring retroactive relief to those unjustly incarcerated in the state prison system,” emphasized HSAN President/CEO Dr. Benjamin Chavis.  “This is an important step forward and we must continue to raise our voices until full justice is served to the families and communities disproportionately impacted by these laws during the past three decades.”

HSAN is a non-profit, non-partisan national coalition of artists, entertainment industry leaders, education advocates, civil rights proponents and youth leaders united in the belief that the “hip-hop” phenomena is an enormously influential agent for social change which must be responsibly and pro-actively utilized to fight the war on poverty and injustice.

For more information on HSAN, go to