Treatment is sought for addicts
STATE BANKRUPTING ITSELF BY JAILING THEM, PANEL TOLD
State officials are asking Gov. Steve Beshear and the legislature to consider steering criminal suspects with addiction problems into intensive treatment rather than a jail cell.
Kentucky is bankrupting itself by imprisoning drug addicts and alcoholics, lawmakers were told Thursday.
"We have too many people in jails, too many people in prisons," state Justice Secretary J. Michael Brown told the Senate Judiciary Committee. "Our capacity to care for them has been strained to the limit."
The state is poorly served by locking up street-level addicts, Brown added.
"I don't think we're getting the worst drug lords into the prisons. We're just getting the people who went out and got caught," he said. "It's the low-hanging fruit." . . .
More than 80 percent of the state's criminal suspects get into trouble because of substance abuse, Senate Majority Leader Dan Kelly, R-Springfield, told the committee.
Kelly and Senate Minority Leader Ed Worley, D-Richmond, are pushing Senate Bill 72, which would establish an intensive three-month to six-month addiction treatment program for people charged with felonies. The committee unanimously approved the bill Thursday and sent it to the full Senate.
"This is one of the most sensible solutions to dealing with this problem in the real world," said Sen. Gerald Neal, D-Louisville.
Under the bill, court officials would screen less-serious felony suspects within days of their arrests to determine who has a relevant addiction problem that could be resolved with treatment. Participants would agree to live in a secured 200-bed facility or, if it's considered safe, other residential drug-treatment programs identified by the state.
Successful participants later could have their records expunged and avoid a prison sentence, although follow-up treatment would be assigned. People who quit or are booted from the program would return to the justice system to stand trial. (h/t Crime and Justice News)
Don’t worry. In reality, a state will start furloughing staff with unpaid work days each month, maybe cut pay, reduce services to the bare bones before it will actually go bankrupt. No big deal.