Kentucky should begin seeing fewer people jailed for misdemeanor crimes like having a marijuana cigarette or a few pills under a new law that took effect Wednesday. The law is supposed to ease jail overcrowding, reports the Louisville Courier-Journal. Police officers will now issue citations rather than make make arrests for dozens of misdemeanors, as long as they believe the suspect is no danger to himself or others and will appear in court to answer the charge.
The law also reduces some felony drug charges to misdemeanors that require citations rather than arrest, such as second-degree possession of a controlled substance. The changes were pushed by advocates who say there typically is no reason for people charged with misdemeanor crimes to spend time in jail, with taxpayers footing the bill. But some police agencies have complained that the law isn’t clear on exactly which crimes are included and how much discretion police still have in deciding whether to make an arrest.