U.S. Attorney Chris Thyer announced Friday a new effort to rehabilitate drug offenders as an alternative to felony convictions.
Last week, Jeremy Johnson became the first person accepted into a new Post-Plea Deferral Program developed by the U.S. attorney, the probation office and the federal public defender’s office. The goals, said a news release, are ” to promote community safety, break the cycle of drug addiction-induced crime, and increase the likelihood of successful rehabilitation of drug offenders by implementing a blend of treatment, supervision, appropriate sanctions, and incentives.”
Johnson pleaded guilty to obtaining drugs by a fraudulent prescription, a crime that can carry a four-year sentence.
Judge James Moody Jr. deferred acceptance of a plea for 18 months. If Johnson completes his program, charges will be dismissed.
Thyer said he was pleased to have rehabilitation alternative. It is limited. It is open to people with no prior criminal history, or very minor criminal history, whose illegal acts were “motivated primarily by drug addiction.” Completion of the supervised program includes “positively contributing to the community through employment and education.”
Rehabilitation rather than incarceration. A good idea. A whole rethinking of the criminalizing of drugs would be a better idea still.