Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner has another bold plan sure to rattle the local criminal justice system. Axios reports that the progressive DA is close to starting a new practice of diverting all drug possession cases to treatment programs or community service, freeing defendants of the threat of incarceration or a criminal record.
The Philadelphia policy has not been finalized, and there is no timeline for rollout yet. But Krasner said in an upcoming episode of “Axios on HBO” that he favors de facto decriminalization of an as-yet undefined tier of drug offenses. “We are talking about people who are using drugs,” Krasner said. “The vast majority of them suffering from addiction. I do not see value in convicting people like that.” Philadelphia already participates in a drug crime diversion pilot program called LEAD, but it is optional and used earlier in the process. In Pennsylvania, a first time offense of possession of small amounts of heroin or cocaine can result in a year behind bars and thousands of dollars in fines.