Regional
8:00 am
Tue March 22, 2011

Bill Would Offer Treatment To Some Drug Offenders

KRWG News – ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRWG) A state lawmaker from Albuquerque says New Mexico has nothing to lose with a measure that would allow judges to order treatment for some people facing drug possession charges.

Democratic Rep. Antonio "Moe" Maestas says offenders who violate the judge's order would go back to court to be prosecuted.

Maestas sponsored the measure in the House.

It passed that chamber Friday night and awaits the governor's decision.

Maestas estimates the program will take 2,000 to 3,000 cases out of the state criminal justice system.

He says that will save $18 million in resources and allow the courts to focus on violent criminals.

Maestas and the measure's Senate sponsor, Espanola Democrat Richard Martinez, say it's more effective to treat drug possession offenders for addiction than it is to jail them.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. KRWG