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Committee considers drug treatment for non-violent offenders

By Sascha Cordner

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wfsu/local-wfsu-994072.mp3

Tallahassee, FL – A bill that would leave it up to a judge to decide whether a non-violent repeat offender should be sent to a drug treatment program OR go to jail has one more committee stop before it heads to House floor. As Sascha Cordner reports, the measure's sponsor says his intent is to reduce recidivism.

Republican Representative George Moraitis Junior of Fort Lauderdale says he wants to make sure that non-violent offenders, who have a substance abuse problem, get a chance for rehabilitation:

"House Bill 183 would align the misdemeanor drug court program with the felony drug court program. Currently, in felony drug court, if there is a repeat offense, the judge would have discretion rather than just incarcerating that person to sending that person into treatment and right now the drug court program does not have that flexibility."

Moraitis says drug court programs and drug treatment programs have been shown to reduce recidivism by 25-to-40 percent in terms of avoiding repeat offenses. The measure's last committee stop is the House Judiciary Committee.