Push for major cuts to drug sentences

Published 10:11 am Wednesday, November 18, 2015

ST. PAUL — A state panel is considering major cuts to prison sentences for many drug offenses.

Minnesota’s Sentencing Guidelines Commission is expected to take up several options Wednesday that would reduce sentences for a handful of drug charges — with particular attention to cocaine, methamphetamines and heroin — as soon as next August.

That includes a proposal from Supreme Court Justice Christopher Dietzen, the group’s chairman, that would cut prison sentences for first-degree drug possession nearly in half and could mean probation for second-degree offenders rather than the current suggested four-year prison sentence, according to a copy of his proposal provided to The AP.

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If approved, those changes wouldn’t go into effect until at least August.