The Wall Street Journal last Friday noted Kentucky's becoming the latest among a growing number of states renouncing "some of the long prison sentences that have been a hallmark of the war on drugs and instead focusing on treatment, which once-skeptical lawmakers now say is proven to be less expensive and more effective."
"While the changes are part of broader belt-tightening efforts," the Journal's article conceded, "they also reflect a growing belief among state lawmakers that prosecuting drug offenders aggressively often fails to treat their underlying addiction problems and can result in offenders cycling in and out of prisons for years—a critique long voiced by groups that advocate in favor of defendants' rights…" Estimates are that passage of the new law will save the Commonwealth $422 million over the next decade. Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania are among those that also have pending bills to reduce penalties for drug offenders, in some cases by directing defendants into treatment programs. Similar laws have taken effect in South Carolina, Colorado and New York in recent years. States have maintained stiff penalties for more-serious drug crimes."
Kentucky's HB 463
Governor's Press Release