Human Rights Group Discusses Impact of Felony Drug Convictions

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia Commission on Human Rights held its monthly meeting Tuesday night and discussed what it calls the "discriminatory impact of felony drug convictions."

One commission member--whose name KOMU 8 News has withheld to protect those with whom she works--spoke candidly with the board about her conviction for possession of methamphetamines in 1996, saying it has been a tough go for her since then, and that the conviction follows her wherever she goes since she was not able to take advantage of drug court.

Committee chairman Scott Dean outlined the committee's goals. 

"What we want to do is get some just pure data about whether felony drug convictions are discriminatory," Dean said. "I think we're going to get that data and come back next month and hopefully we're going to be able to provide a good report to council and they can use that going forward." 

Dean lauded the commissioner for admitting her past drug problems to the commission.

"I appreciated her forthrightness," Dean said. "I appreciated her sharing her story. I think it's a story worth listening to." 

The commission meets once every month to discuss issues relating to human rights. 

[Editor's note: This story has been edited to remove the name of the commissioner so as not to affect her work with certain groups.]