The Denver Post
A state senator revealed his brother's decade-long addiction to meth today when he and three other lawmakers unveiled their bill to reduce the crime of drug possession from a felony to a misdemeanor.
Senate Bill 2012-163 deals with drug offenders who primarily are users and addicts rather than dealers, and enhances their access to treatment.
"We have so many people throughout this country who are the casualties of a failed war on drugs," said Rep. Claire Levy, D-Boulder. "And in one sense when you get a felony not only do you get a criminal penalty, but what you have is a sentence to life without employment."
During a news conference at the Capitol, Levy presented the bill with Sens. Shawn Mitchell, R-Broomfield, and Pat Steadman, D-Denver, and Rep. Don Beezley, R-Broomfield .
That's when Mitchell said his younger brother is a meth addict who has been jailed in more than one state and has a felony conviction. But he said a drug treatment program appears to have pointed his brother in a new direction.
"My family is filled with love and hope for his turnaround," Mitchell said.
SB 163 has the backing of diverse organizations, including the Independence Institute, the Colorado Criminal Defense Foundation, and the Criminal Justice Reform Coalition.
"Let's be clear. This is not legalization. This is not decriminalization," Mitchell said. "This is simply a smarter approach to fighting the evils of drug abuse in our society. Trafficking, dealing, distribution will remain a felony. But for the personal users, the addict, the person trapped in this destructive cycle, we'll focus our effort on treatment and improvement."
Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?
Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.
If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
The Denver Post