DENVER — Four state lawmakers, two of them Democrats and two Republicans, introduced legislation Wednesday that aims to reduce penalties for drug users and to put the money spent on incarcerating them toward treatment programs instead.
One of those four lawmakers sponsoring Senate Bill 163 brings a personal story of how his family has been affected by addiction.
“My younger brother has been a meth addict for nearly a decade,” said Sen. Shawn Mitchell, R-Broomfield, during a press conference Wednesday morning. “He’s has been in jail in more than one state, he has a felony conviction.”
Mitchell pointed to his brother’s rehabilitation as proof that incarceration without treatment isn’t productive, the basic argument behind the legislation that would reduce drug use crimes from felonies to misdemeanors and direct the funding normally spent on prison beds toward addiction treatment programs.