Crime reform bills aim to rectify harsh punishments for non-violent drug offenders

Two state senators are pushing a set of crime reform bills say California laws meant to be tough on crime during the "War on Drugs" haven't worked and unfairly penalize minorities and the poor.

One bill would remove mandatory three-year sentences enhancements for people with prior non-violent drug convictions.

The bill's author, Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), says mandatory sentences were meant to penalize drug dealers but instead are being handed out to users who need treatment rather than jail time.

"I think again hindsight is twenty-twenty and as we look back on our failed strategy to impact the drug epidemic in our community some strategies worked, some didn't and these automatic enhancements and a variety of strategies just didn't work," Sen. Mitchell said.

Another bill in the package would prohibit counties from charging court and probation fees to families who have teenagers in the juvenile justice system.

The series of five crime reform measures have cleared the state senate and passed the the California Assembly Public Safety Committee Tuesday morning.


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