KY bill sends criminals to rehab, not jail

Published: Feb. 18, 2011 at 7:58 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 25, 2011 at 8:11 PM CST
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By Brett Hoffland - bio | email 
Posted by Adam Thiele - email

HOPKINS CO., KY (WFIE) - In Kentucky, the house overwhelmingly passes a bill that would send more criminals into treatment rather than jails.

The cost for correctional facilities has increased by $300 million in the past 20 years, the house believes criminals with low level drug offenses should be considered for treatment instead of jail time to cut costs. New Horizon Counseling Administrator Larry Peyton agrees.

"I think that person needs to go to treatment instead of jail, where we can educate them on the negative consequences of it number one and to try to detox them off of it," Peyton says.

Serious drug traffickers will still serve time. These low level offenders could join them if they continue use.

"Now if this continues and once they've had treatment and they continue to use then I think the justice system it needs to go up a level okay and the consequences needs to be more," Peyton says.

Prisons across the state would expect to save $440 million over the next 10 years if passed. A portion of the savings would fund the treatment.

The bill will allow for a risk assessment to determine if the person is likely to be a repeat offender. Peyton says this is key.

"We need to get at the reasons why that person's risking going to jail to use that drug," Peyton says.

Peyton says whether it be jail time or treatment, punishment is a must.

"Without consequences there's no change, if you always do what you always did you'll always get what you always got, and if nothing changes nothing changes," says Peyton.

the senate will vote on the bill next week.

Copyright 2011 WFIE. All rights reserved.