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PCAO continue filing charges on minor drug offenses

Historic Pima County Courthouse
Posted at 6:37 PM, Mar 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-09 20:37:05-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — On Wednesday, March 9, the Pima County Attorney’s Office announced it will continue filing charges against people arrested on minor drug charges.

They will direct those people into the pre-indictment STEPS drug court only after an attempt to drive down the jail population failed to make a significant difference.

In December, County Attorney Laura Conover, issued a statement to local law enforcement saying that minor drug offenders should not be sent to jail because she would not prosecute them.

The purpose is to prevent those suffering from substance use disorder sent to jail during the pandemic.

“The jail population was at 1,671 on December 14, 2021 – the day of my memo – and was at 1,673 as I draft this,” Conover wrote in a memorandum to area chiefs of police. “This isn’t an anomaly; this has been a consistent number for the jail population, as I watched it on a daily basis.”

Officials said vulnerable people were still sent to jail in cramped conditions before charges being dismissed by PCAO deputy prosecutors.