Assembly Considers New Drug Sentencing Bill
Thursday, June 13, 2013
Aired 6/13/13 on KPBS News.
Prosecutors would have the discretion to charge people arrested for simple drug possession with a misdemeanor under a bill making its way through the California Assembly.
California A bill that would give prosecutors the flexibility to charge drug possession as a misdemeanor is moving through the state assembly. Supporters call it common sense reform.
Possession of heroin or cocaine carries a mandatory felony charge in California. The bill would give prosecutors the option of reducing that charge to a misdemeanor.
Thirteen states and the District of Columbia treat drug possession as a misdemeanor.
The California District Attorneys Association argues minimizing the consequences of addictive behavior doesn't make it less destructive. But Margaret Dooley-Samuli, senior policy advocate with the American Civil Liberties Union in San Diego said the current system is a failure.
"If harsh penalties were going to solve our drug problems, we would be rid of them by now," she said. "Lengthy jail sentences are not a good use of limited public safety resources."
Dooley-Samuli said the bill would allow counties to reduce jail spending and invest in drug treatment.
To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.
Please stay on topic and be as concise as possible. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Community Discussion Rules. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.