Now 59, George Prendes works as a telemarketer in New York and struggles to make the rent on his small Bronx apartment.
February 14, 2013 George Prendes was 23 when he was sentenced under New York's Rockefeller drug laws — tough mandatory sentencing guidelines for nonviolent drug crimes. The 15 years Prendes served for a drug transaction still reverberate for him and his family.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/171939808/172038809" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
February 14, 2013 Forty years ago, New York enacted tough laws in response to a wave of drug-related crime. They became known as the Rockefeller drug laws, and they set the standard for states looking to get tough on crime. But a new debate is under way over the effectiveness of such strict sentencing laws.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/171822608/171975819" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
NPR thanks our sponsors
Become an NPR sponsor