The 2003 Kansas Legislature made a major policy change in how the state treats drug offenders - moving from a punishment model to a treatment model.
SB 123, effective November 1, 2003, established a non-prison sentence of drug abuse treatment of not to exceed 18 months, amended the criminal statutes related to drug possessions to reduce all criminal penalties involving illegal drug possession regardless of the second, third, or subsequent possession conviction to a level 4 drug grid offense. (First-time marijuana possession remains a class A misdemeanor.) For a third and subsequent conviction of drug possession by an offender, however, the presumptive sentence is imprisonment and the sentence is not to be considered a departure. Further, if a defendant violates the treatment sentence, the defendant will be subjected to a nonprison sanction which could include, among other things, up to 60 days in the county jail.
Offenders are supervised by community corrections services staff who work with substance abuse staff to ensure effective supervision and monitoring of offenders. Offenders in drug abuse treatment programs will be discharged from the program if the offender:
• is convicted of a new felony, other than a felony conviction for drug possession;
• has a pattern of intentional conduct that demonstrates the offender's refusal to comply with or participate in the treatment program, as established by judicial finding.
Offenders who are discharged from the program will be required to serve out their sentence in prison.