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Incoming AG Hill Wants 'Strict Enforcement' Of Drug Users

Attorney General-elect Curtis Hill (second from left) with a panel of experts on Indiana's drug epidemic.

State officials, health care leaders and lawmakers often use the phrase “can’t arrest our way out” when talking about Indiana’s so-called “drug epidemic.” But incoming Attorney General Curtis Hill says the state shouldn’t abandon what he calls “strict enforcement.”

The state’s recent criminal code reform was aimed at, in part, keeping low-level, non-violent drug offenders out of prison and into community corrections and treatment. But Hill, who’s been critical of the reform, rejects that premise; he thinks all drug crimes are violent crimes.

“If you’re a low-level drug offender and you broke into somebody’s house or you stole somebody’s car … that’s my point, in terms of if there are no other avenues that are working, then perhaps incarceration is the way you have to go because of the repetitive nature of that seemingly low-level offense,” Hill says.

And Hill adds for drug users who, in his words, “get caught up in law enforcement,” treatment after incarceration should be available.

“Does that mean that incarceration should be our goal for users? I don’t think so,” Hill says. “But I think the reality is that it’s one of the more practical solutions that we have right now in terms of forcing someone to accountability for getting help.”

Hill says he thinks many people will never seek help without incarceration.

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