July 6, 2024 – This spring, a group of New Haven students documented the episode’s impact on the neighborhood where some of them live and have family in a 45-minute film. “It destroyed a lot of Newhallville.” “It destroyed the people, more so. The community.” “Mostly Black people,” added Ynyce Gallishaw, a rising ninth grader at Hill Regional Career High School.

In 1970, Nixon passed the Controlled Substances Act, which classified drugs into schedules based on risk for addiction and abuse. That’s when police focus turned to hard drugs like crack cocaine and heroin, said Daniel Maxwell, a distinguished lecturer in the Criminal Justice Department at the University of New Haven.

Maxwell became a police officer in 1981, working first in Greenwich for five years, then in Madison for 20. He has taught at UNH for 30 years, beginning part-time while he was still a police officer, and he now teaches full time.

Crack cocaine “became an epidemic in and of itself,” Maxwell said. The federal government passed laws about the drug that cast a wide net and put a lot of people in prison, which was the start of mass incarceration in the United States, he said.