Corrections Bill Gives Police More Discretion on Whether to Arrest Some Offenders

by Gabe Bullard on March 1, 2011

The corrections bill passed by the Kentucky General Assembly may change how police treat anyone caught with drugs.

The legislation is meant to reduce prison costs and crowding largely by steering drug offenders toward treatment programs. Senate Judiciary Committee chair Tom Jensen says it also gives police more flexibility to issue citations for misdemeanor drug crimes, such as marijuana possession, rather than make arrests.

“The officer would have some discretion in those circumstances. We don’t make it mandatory on those when it’s a misdemeanor drug offense. It’ll be up to the officer,” he says.

Jensen says citations can lead to court appearances and incarceration or punishment, but it will be up to officers whether to immediately jail someone found with marijuana. He says the corrections bill and the attempts to reduce the number of drug offenders in state prisons is not a step toward legalizing any drugs.

Governor Steve Beshear says he will sign the bill.

Comments Closed


Chuck Burke March 1, 2011 at 3:44 pm

Honestly, when are we going to start acting like adults on this topic?

We should legalize and tax marijuana. It’s ridiculous to continue to spend money enforcing marijuana laws. It’s not going away, it’s not harmful and it could be a boon to state tax coffers.

Michael March 7, 2011 at 5:56 pm

I had been smoking with a friend in her dorm room last semester when the police came in, found several bags of weed and several items of paraphernalia. She got charged with possession/paraphernalia but was only given a citation.

Citations are currently issued for matters of possession unless a person is in public or what have you. I don’t see the point of this bill. I mean yeah, it’s a good thing to have it reduced from a Class A to a Class B, but we need to go further than that. There needs to be a state law making it a fine and nothing more.

This should happen soon.

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