Thousands of drug possession arrests in Chicago are tossed out every year because of an unwritten rule in the courts, a Better Government Association/Chicago Sun-Times investigation has found.
Most of the people affected are Black men who have been jailed in the past two decades on drug charges everyone knew from the beginning were never going to stick, according to the investigation.
Most of the people have lost their jobs, homes and relationship along with money over fees related to being jailed.
The investigation also found these dead-end arrests cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars each year.
Illinois has a bill right now that would reduce the charge for drug possession from felony to misdemeanor, but it looks like it’s going nowhere. Out in Oregon, voters passed a law that decriminalized the possession of low amounts of drugs, making them a ticketable offense and directed more than $300 million in marijuana revenues to drug treatment state-wide.