Minnesota imprisoned more people than ever last year, due in part to a spike in methamphetamine cases.
The state’s Guideline Sentencing Commission, ordered by the Legislature to look into the related problems of meth abuse and prison population, came up with several solutions:
• Shorter sentences.
• Create out-of-prison treatments for nonviolent drug offenders.
• Build more prisons.
Lawmakers appear divided on what to do — if anything, reports the Duluth News Tribune. A bill before the Legislature would lengthen prison sentences for meth producers to combat a growing problem.
Another bill calls for drug treatment as a less-expensive alternative to prison and scales back some drug-possession laws.
The number of drug offenders in Minnesota prisons grew from 12 percent of inmates in 1980 to more than 30 percent in 2002. The number of Minnesota prison sentences for meth has tripled over the past six years, the commission study found.