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February 26, 2006

Interesting report on California's Prop 36

It seems all the sentencing stories these days are coming from California, whether its lethal injection litigation or Blakely cases in the Supreme Court or three-strikes reform.  And, thanks to this fascinating article from the Sacramento Bee, drug sentencing can be to the mix.  The article, "Breaking a cycle, or broken system?", appears to be the first in a series.  Here's a taste:

Nearly five years after voters made sweeping changes in California's drug sentencing laws to emphasize treatment over jail, The Bee found that the system can fail to protect those it's intended to help.  A Bee review of some 5,000 pages of state reports and court records since voters approved Proposition 36 found more than 40 instances in which patients died, suffered injuries, overdosed on drugs or were otherwise at risk in poorly regulated programs or with unlicensed, unethical or careless drug counselors....

Since Proposition 36, drug treatment in California has gone from a mostly voluntary system serving addicts who could leave at any time to mandated treatment for those sentenced under the initiative.  The 50,000 offenders sentenced to drug programs each year under Proposition 36 are straining a system that already had long waiting lists.

More than 200,000 Californians enter treatment annually, including those who voluntarily seek help....  The influx of drug offenders into treatment since Proposition 36 has increased the workload for state investigators examining these programs.  Since 2001, the annual number of complaints they investigate has risen from 240 to 363 in fiscal 2005.

February 26, 2006 at 07:47 PM | Permalink

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