Pubdate: Sun, 08 Apr 2007
Source: Wichita Eagle (KS)
Copyright: 2007 The Wichita Eagle
Author: Peter Ninemire
Cited: Families Against Mandatory Minimums


Thank you for the article ("Few funds for parolee drug abuse
treatment," March 25 Eagle) and editorial ("Fund it: Walk the talk on
parolees," April 1 Opinion) regarding funding drug treatment for
parolees. A new study released by the National Institutes of Drug
Abuse revealed that less than 10 percent of inmates who need treatment
get it.

At a time when Kansas is considering improving services in this area,
and is doing so in the area of re-entry, the Kansas Legislature is
considering a registry for meth offenders as an amendment to the sex
offender registry bill passed last year. Fortunately, a few
legislators have efforts under way to ensure that, at minimum,
judicial discretion is preserved.

A meth registry is unnecessary, costly and undermines reintegration
efforts, but at least restoring judicial discretion and restricting
those exposed to the registry is a step in the right direction. I
would further suggest that the registry, if established, be limited to
individuals with at least one prior conviction and who are leaders of
methamphetamine trafficking conspiracies involving large quantities.
This would exclude addicted individuals (many of those charged are
women with dependent children) producing relatively small amounts of
meth and limited sales to support their habits. Those who produce meth
are already subject to harsh penalties, and the meth registry will
only harm their efforts to return to their communities as sober,
taxpaying citizens.

In addition, while the judicial component is a much appreciated and
important improvement in this measure, the fact remains that low-level
meth users and producers (usually one and the same) will still be
subject to the registry -- at great expense to the state, with no
proven increase in public safety. These funds could be better spent to
ensure successful treatment and re-entry for those who have completed
lengthy sentences.


Midwest regional organizer

Families Against Mandatory Minimums

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MAP posted-by: Steve Heath