Skip to main content

Minnesota leaders team up to overhaul drug crime sentences

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

Minnesota leaders unveiled a plan to reduce the criminal punishment for many drug crimes Friday morning.

Minnesota county attorneys, police and state lawmakers discussed the proposed changes which build upon an earlier reform proposed by the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission.

The plan will reduce the severity for punishment of first and second degree drug crimes. It also proposes the laws differentiate drug users from dealers – with dealers getting harsher punishments.

The proposal notes that Minnesota's current laws don't do a very good job of distinguishing between criminals and addicts, saying both are now being treated the same.

State Public Defender for Minnesota Bill Ward says there are too many people in prisons that need of drug treatment, but are stuck serving long prison sentences. He says the proposal will change that.

Offenders with larger amounts of illegal substances will face longer prison times, however the proposal brings fifth degree offenses down from a felony to a gross misdemeanor. A second offense would be a felony, though.

The Pioneer Press says first degree offenders would also see a decrease in sentences. Right now, the sentence is just over seven years, it would drop to a little more than five years.

Additionally, the proposal would increase the amount of some drugs – narcotics, but not heroin – needed in order to be considered a possession crime. The threshold would be doubled from 25 grams to 50 grams. Read the details here.

People who possess a firearm will have the original 25 gram threshold though.

And those who are caught with a "trace" of some drug – a single dosage unit – would only get a gross misdemeanor, not a felony offense.

The changes are set to take place by August, unless the Legislature rejects them.

https://twitter.com/AndrewMannix/status/726065371162263552

Overcrowding in prisons

Minnesota's prisons and correctional facilities currently hold about 560 inmates more than capacity, according to the House. That gap is expected to more than double by 2022 if nothing changes.

Last month, KARE 11 reported that Minnesota has the fifth fastest growing prison population in the country.

In July, 20 percent of people in prison had been sentenced for drug-related crimes, MinnPost reports.

Next Up

28987158675_df8dbfc6df_o

3 dead after plane crashes into house in Hermantown

Two people in the house were uninjured.

FeDh7pUWAAg3NMd

Destructive fire at Maple Grove greenhouse and nursery

The fire burned early Sunday morning at a longtime Maple Grove greenhouse and nursery.

st. cloud state university hockey

SCSU player hospitalized after being taken off ice on stretcher

Luedtke was checked into the boards in the first period and down for a reported 10-15 minutes.

Amber alert wisconsin

Amber Alert in Wisconsin: Search for missing 15-year-old girl

Police believe 15-year-old Kryssy King may be with a 22-year-old man.

Screen Shot 2022-10-01 at 10.18.12 AM

3 St. Paul fast food restaurants robbed in space of an hour

The thieves struck between 7:15 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Screen Shot 2022-10-01 at 9.06.40 AM

What to do with the Kmart site? Minneapolis wants your ideas

The project will connect Nicollet Avenue south of Lake street and north of the Midtown Greenway, reestablishing a street grid.

Screen Shot 2022-10-01 at 7.53.55 AM

Crowd evacuated at end of homecoming football game in Brooklyn Park

Police blamed 'unruly teens' in the stands and some who were trying to enter the stadium.

gas

State to help 44 Minnesota gas stations add E15 pumps

The yellow 88 button is coming to more gas stations in Minnesota.

Screen Shot 2022-09-30 at 4.54.42 PM

FBI, police investigating bank robbery at Edina's 50th and France

An ATM technician was robbed by four men at a U.S. Bank.

Ethan Glynn

Paralyzed Bloomington football player begins rehabilitation in Colorado

Ethan Glynn is at a world-renowned rehabilitation hospital.

Related

Dakota, Washington, Ramsey counties team up to fight prescription drug abuse

A coalition of law enforcers and prosecutors in the east metro hopes that focusing on early intervention and prevention will help stem a growing problem that prison time cannot seem to stop.