CHICAGO, Ill. — Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez announcing Chicago to introduce sweeping reforms to the office’s drug policies regarding low level marijuana possession and other recreational drugs.
The primary focus of the changes includes creation of a first of its kind alternative prosecution program specifically designed for repeat low level drug offenders that will identify and divert these offenders out of the criminal justice system and begin to address the chronic problems of drug use and addiction as a public health issue.
The new program will be designed for non-violent individuals charged with Class 4 felony possession of a controlled substance and link repeat offenders with social service agencies for treatment rather than pursuing criminal penalties.
Last year, Class 4 felony drug possession cases accounted for 25% of all felony cases in Cook County. This is in addition to 15,000 misdemeanor cases for possession of small amounts of cannabis.