Harshest in the Nation: The Rockefeller Drug Laws and the Widening Embrace of Punitive Politics

  title={Harshest in the Nation: The Rockefeller Drug Laws and the Widening Embrace of Punitive Politics},
  author={Jessica Neptune},
  journal={The Social History of Alcohol and Drugs},
  pages={170 - 191}
  • Jessica Neptune
  • Published 1 June 2012
  • History, Political Science, Law
  • The Social History of Alcohol and Drugs
This article analyzes local debates around the enactment of New York’s 1973 Rockefeller Drug Laws, which marked a watershed moment in the turn towards punitive drug policy. This history contributes to a growing body of literature that has challenged and complicated the traditional backlash narrative of “law and order.” Governor Nelson Rockefeller did not root his campaign for harsh new drug laws in the politics of white racial backlash. Instead, he championed the laws by publicizing their… 
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