Minnesota prosecutors agree it's time to reduce drug sentences

- A coalition of Minnesota prosecutors and law enforcement officials say they’re in agreement that it’s time the state cut the prison sentences of drug offender. Drug sentencing guidelines from 25 years ago sent thousands of people to prison for low-level offenses. This “war on drugs” didn’t solve the problem of addiction, and locked up a disproportionate number of African Americans.

Legislation unveiled Friday would supersede the changes proposed by the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission late last year. Sentences for first and second-degree possession and sale charges would be drastically reduced, but tough penalties would remain in place for high-level drug dealers. The police and prosecutors’ plan still needs legislative approval.

Sen. Ron Latz (DFL-St. Louis Park) has authored a Senate bill to modify the sentencing guidelines.

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