State officials considering felony drug offenders to misdemeanors

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The Nevada justice panel is working to lessen the penalties for some drug offenses next year.

The panel will be able to reclassify certain drug crimes and put misdemeanor offenders into programs rather than jail time.

American Civil Liberties Union policy director, Holly Welborn says, “Some have been reducing misdemeanors or putting those people to drug court programs. Others say maybe keep the statutes but change levels of offense”.

According to the ACLU, 66 percent of felony offenses are from nonviolent drug crimes due to an addiction and not violent tendencies.

Supporters of the plan say taxpayers could save money in the future if state officials lower these drug offenses.

The ACLU mentioned, Nevada is above the national average when it comes to the number of people behind bars. They point out that Nevada is sending some drug offenders out of state because of that.

Welborn added, “They can find their way back to prison if they have some kind of parole or probation violation. another subcommittee of ACAJ is looking at how they address release and limit sending people back to prison on technical violations”.

The Advisory Commission on the Administration of Justice plans to meet on Dec. 19, to take a formal vote on this new recommendation.

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