A smart (but misguided) friend of mine voted for California’s Proposition 5, a terrible proposition that all but mandates “drug treatment” for all sorts of crimes. It turns out that my friend thought the proposition covers only drug crimes. No! Here’s my boss to explain:
What sorts of criminals would qualify for this preferential “get out of jail free” treatment? The list is long and frightening. It includes those who commit certain arsons and burglaries, identity theft, child pornography, domestic violence, auto theft, mortgage fraud, lewd acts on teenagers, illegal weapons possession, drug sales, grand theft (in any amount), all kinds of fraud, drunk driving (even when causing bodily injury) and many other crimes.
California already mandates drug treatment for simple drug possession. For nonviolent offenders whose problems result from drugs, judges and D.A.’s already have discretion to give offenders drug programs instead of jail or prison.
But many criminals aren’t suffering primarily from a drug problem. Many are suffering from a “committing crimes” problem.
The way to address someone with a severe case of “committing crimes” is to lock up that person. Period.
You can be against the drug war, and favor treatment for drug offenders, and still vote against this proposition — which essentially tosses the criminal justice system aside in favor of drug treatment for car thieves, wife beaters, identity thieves, etc.
I heard my office’s Chief Deputy saying on the radio that we file 75,000 felony cases per year in Los Angeles County, and 50,000 would be eligible for “treatment” programs under this initiative.
No on 5.