First-time misdemeanor drug offenders ages 17 to 20 now are required to spend 24 hours in jail in southwestern Missouri’s Stone County, the Kansas City Star reports. High school students can schedule their time on weekends. County Prosecutor Matt Selby said he was breaking ground in requiring youths with no prior arrests to be jailed because fines and community-service penalties have been ineffective. “I know that doing this is a little bit of a tough step, but I really feel we need to do something at a younger age with substance abuse,” Selby said.
County Sheriff Richard Hill hopes a night in jail will open some eyes. When brought to the jail, the offender is fingerprinted, showers, changes into an orange outfit and spends 24 hours in isolation. Meals are passed through a door slot. “This is a way they can get early insight into the path they may be heading down,” Hill said. “They get a lot of time to think about what they have done.” Richard Sindel of St. Louis, a past president of the Missouri Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, objects to the new policy” “The problem is that a 'one size fits all’ approach only works with socks,” Patrick Lewis of the Kansas Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, said a person may fear jail less once he has been exposed to it. He said, “No, they don’t want to go back, but they are not terrified of the prospect.” The defendant may conclude “jail is sure no fun, but I got caught up on my sleep – it was no big deal,” he said.