A mother says her son would still be alive if the state had a law that sent people back to jail if they fail a drug test while on parole. Currently, probation officers can use their judgment. But as Statehouse correspondent Andy Chow reports, a bill would take that discretion away.
Scottie Childers tested positive for fentanyl last January while on probation. Four hours after that test, he died of an overdose.
His mother, Linda Chambers, is angry that his probation officer didn’t send Scottie straight to jail. Now she supports HB457 that would automatically put an ex-offender back behind bars if they test positive for opioids.
“If there was no discretion he would’ve went to jail and he would’ve been in jail four hours later he wouldn’t have been able to use four hours later and pass away,” said Chambers.
Opponents say addicts should go to treatment, not jail and argue that discretion is needed because not every case is the same.
The bill does spell out that an offender can go to treatment instead, but due to a lack of availability jail would be the most likely destination.