There is a general movement in Arkansas and nationwide trending in the direction of rehabilitation in non-violent drug prosecutions. This is because the so-called war on drugs has been a disaster that has seen increased drug activities on all levels and fronts. The drug war did succeed in filling the nation’s prisons to capacity at a cost of trillions of dollars, largely with non-violent individuals convicted of drug crimes. There is a growing consensus, even among some law enforcement offices, that the drug war should be wound down and replaced, where appropriate, with intensive treatment programs.
The intention is to treat the plague of drug addiction by getting to the root causes. Where individuals are given a chance to rejoin society and become productive members, real hope emerges. Some dynamic programs have been introduced nationwide and early reports indicate some dramatic successes.
A recent Arkansas arrest, however, may reveal how difficult it will be to displace decades of heavy penal sentences in favor of creative treatment modalities. An eight-month pregnant woman, age 26, and her mother, age 52, were arrested by drug task force officers in their home recently. The charges include maintaining a drug premises, a class D felony that carries a sentence of 0 to 6 years’ imprisonment.
The authorities also charged them with possession of Oxycodone with the purpose to deliver. An undisclosed amount of the drug was apparently seized after the police reportedly got a search warrant. The press reports are sketchy, and the details are unknown. However, it is known that someone asked the Department of Human Services to investigate because a 5-year-old child reportedly lives there.
Based on facts currently known, there does not appear to be admissible evidence of drug sales. There are no reports of weapons or other aggravating factors. Defense counsel may have a defense against the drug house and intent to sell charges. The real problem is that the two women do not belong in jail because of alleged non-violent drug crimes. It will only lead to more expenses, and a future of hopelessness for the defendants.
Source: arkansasonline.com, “Arkansas woman, pregnant daughter arrested on drug charges“, Emma Pettit, Sept. 16, 2016