Patterico's Pontifications


Proposition 36

Filed under: Crime,General — Patterico @ 9:45 pm

The L.A. Weekly article I mention in the post below is noteworthy for revealing some of the harsher facts about Proposition 36, the California proposition that all but eliminates custody as a punishment for drug possession:

“Basically you put people in jail and they’re doing three to seven days. That is a problem and we do try to levy jail time and probation sentences and send people to county [jail],” adds [Deputy District Attorney Janet] Moore. [Incidentally, Janet is my boss. — P.] “But Proposition 36 substantially changes the way that we do business in drug cases. It was a big societal shift from punishment and incarceration over to rehabilitation.”

The author of the piece, Sam Slovick, continues with this revealing observation:

Proposition 36 is the initiative that was passed by 61 percent of California voters in November 2000. It allows people convicted of nonviolent drug possession to get treatment instead of incarceration, often even if it’s a third pop. Prop. 36 costs $120 million annually, though it was supposed to save California taxpayers $1.5 billion over five years. I think I might have voted for that one myself, but I missed the part that said the streets would be overrun with crack-smoking junkies and dope fiends.

Yeah, you and a lot of other people.

3 Responses to “Proposition 36”

  1. I actually came over here after seeing the news about another Proposition – one that I am wondering if you have any thoughts on.

    This is one that, unlike the anti-illegal alien benefits initiative, I would be glad if it were struck down by the courts.

    Aakash (f7fa1f)

  2. It’s pretty well understood that the only successful drug treatment programs for low-life drug abusers occur in prison for the simple reason that it’s hard as hell to kick a drug habit, and when you’re in prison, you have very strong incentives to succeed. When you’re on the streets, you can show up or not show up at your pleasure.

    Attila (Pillage Idiot) (dfa1f1)

  3. Prop 36 was but the 3rd “let’s rehab instead of jail the addicts” mandate along with Drug Court and PC1000 (Diversion)

    Can I tell you from working in the trenches that Prop 36 has been a joke?

    One gets defendants that are bounced from program to program… if they’re not eligible for PC1000, then they are stuck in Prop 36. And if they fail them both, the judges keep reinstating them into the programs over-and-over-and-over again.

    Probably a good 1/3 of the misdemeanor cases running through my office are drug related, but the percentage of people that successfully complete PC1000 or Prop 36 is so small each year as to be laughable.

    I don’t know if prison, per se, is the answer because there are a lot of drugs in prison. But certainly confinement to a lock-down rehab program would be more in order than the AA/NA style things going on right now.

    Darleen (f20213)

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