Maryland Panel: Restructure Penalties for Drug Possession - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Maryland Panel: Restructure Penalties for Drug Possession

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BALTIMORE (AP)- A Maryland panel says the state needs to restructure penalties for drug possession and direct more offenders into treatment.
    
The recommendation is at the top of a list of 19 released Thursday by the Justice Reinvestment Coordinating Council. The recommendations are projected to save about $247 million over the next decade.
    
Another recommendation is to require prompt placement in residential treatment beds of offenders found to be in need of substance abuse treatment. Depending on funding, the council recommends the state health department place offenders in residential treatment beds within 30 days of a judge's order.
    
The panel also is recommending that the state eliminate the disparity between crack and powder cocaine penalties.
    
Lawmakers will consider the proposals when drafting legislation in the next session, which begins Jan. 13.

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