Allowing some felony drug abusers to use diversion: District Attorneys react to HB 2026

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Gov. Laura Kelly called HB 2026, “A significant step towards criminal justice reform in Kansas,” when she signed it into law Friday morning. According to the Kansas Legislature website, HB 2026 is, “Creating a drug abuse treatment program for people on diversion.”

Some Kansas district attorneys rejoiced when House Bill 2026 became law.

Mark Dupree, Wyandotte County’s DA, who is a member of the Governor’s Commission on Racial Equity and Justice and the Governor’s Sentencing Commission explained, “Individuals who need that treatment would be better off if they could get the treatment and still be allowed to have a diversion so once they’re done they can go on and have a productive life.”

District Attorney for Judicial District 18, Marc Bennett says they hope to take this slow and introduce more people to the program in the coming years. You can see his full opinion on this new law in the video below.

However, not just anyone is allowed into this program, there are several requirements.

“We’re not talking about drug dealers,” said Dupree. “But those who were in possession of drugs. Now those individuals can receive funds for drug treatment before they’re convicted of a crime.”

District Attorney Bennett says it could save a lot of money in the long run, “$30,000 a year is what it costs to keep someone incarcerated in the department of corrections. So, if you spend a grand on them or $2,500 even and they don’t go to the joint for that year, you just netted $28,000-ish.”

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