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February 22, 2011

"Money is gone, but Proposition 36's drug-treatment mandate remains"

The title of this post is the headline of this very interesting piece from the Oakland Tribune concerning California drug sentencing laws and programs.  Here are excerpts:

County officials who administer the state's treatment-not-jail program for certain drug offenders are struggling with a lack of funding that's not likely to improve, but advocates say ignoring the mandate simply isn't an option.  Instead, officials are trying to figure out how they'll continue to provide the same treatment without the money to pay for it.

Enacted by 61 percent of voters in November 2000 as Proposition 36, the law says first- and second-time nonviolent, simple drug possession offenders must be given the opportunity to receive substance-abuse treatment instead of jail time.  That "must" isn't a suggestion; it would take another voter-approved ballot measure to undo it.

But Prop. 36 allocated $120 million per year for only five years, and as the state's budget crisis worsened, the Legislature and governor declined to ante up.  They set aside $108 million in 2008-09 but just $18 million in 2009-10, and then zeroed it out for this current fiscal year.  Gov. Jerry Brown's budget proposal includes no money for it in 2011-12.  A $45 million infusion of federal economic stimulus funds in 2009 is now all but gone, and the coffers are empty.

So, it's a mandate with no money, but a mandate nonetheless: Someone who's eligible and demands treatment can't just be sent to jail....

Santa Cruz County has announced it's "phasing out" Prop. 36 by no longer having two probation officers dedicated to monitoring participants.  But the Drug Policy Alliance, which essentially was Prop. 36's proponent, said that sort of language can be misleading: Any county's refusal to offer eligible defendants treatment instead of jail could invite lawsuits....

[T]he Drug Policy Alliance says Prop. 36 at its peak was helping 36,000 people a year, and a UCLA study said every $1 invested in Prop. 36 treatment saved the state between $2.50 and $4 in incarceration costs.  That's added up to $2 billion in savings, [said Margaret Dooley-Sammuli, the alliance's deputy state director], and that should've been enough to win more budget support.

"We wanted voters to see that the program they approved would have to prove itself over time and also wanted to allow legislators to expand funding once they saw that the program delivered on its promises," she said.  "Alas, the power of denial is strong among legislators and the self-interested, evidence-be-damned law enforcement lobby."

February 22, 2011 at 10:19 PM | Permalink

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Comments

"Alas, the power of denial is strong among legislators and the self-interested, evidence-be-damned law enforcement lobby."

We are broke because of the prosecutor's and LE enforcement's lobby (anything to make prosecution of individuals easier, i.e., obstruction of justice (whose justice), lying to a federal agent (not under oath), resisting arrest (even unlawful arrest), warrantless searches (and evidence tampering), etc. I have seen numerous questionable police shootings of innocent people swept under the rug by the "blue front" and refusal by prosecutors to prosecute.

Public education (indoctrination) makes this easy as we all know, police officers never lie and politicians have every constituent's interest in mind, (not tax-payer supported unions whose money goes to the politicians they can buy, to define what is legal).


Posted by: albeed | Feb 22, 2011 10:44:31 PM

Well, if they actually send someone to jail after not giving them a treatment choice they are asking for a lawsuit, sure. And one they would deserve to lose. They could just choose to do nothing with these offenders, or put them on normal probation, or lots of things. I don't see how the choice is either jail or treatment.

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Feb 23, 2011 10:36:35 AM

it's easy soronel...the govt passed an ill conceived stupid law with no real means to pay for it.....nothing new for the bunch of criminal incompetents runing this country the last few decades

Posted by: rodsmith | Feb 23, 2011 11:34:32 AM

Rod,

Except in this case the law was passed by the people through the referendum process.

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Feb 23, 2011 1:12:54 PM

lol maybe...but we still come back to the fact that idiot politicans put the law in place that allows these propositon's from the public with no requirment for them to either make sence legally or to have a way to pay for them.

Posted by: rodsmith | Feb 23, 2011 7:25:21 PM

albeed summed it up pretty well.

Much of law enforcement and what passes for a justice system has become just another big-business hustle. Too many laws. Too much enforcement. Too little reverence for the values embodied in the hollow slogans Americans nonetheless still love to spout.

We know treatment is the right thing to do but can't find money for it. Some of us believe our relentless, voracious enforcement/draconian punishment regimens long ago went over the top but are likely to continue even as we zealously cut funding for education and aid for the poor...and, alas, for treatment alternatives.

Three cheers for the red, white and blue.

Posted by: John K | Feb 23, 2011 10:57:36 PM

John K --

"Three cheers for the red, white and blue."

Some of us are limited to asserting that contempt for America is a component of leftist thinking, while others of us are busy proving it.

Thank you, John K.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Feb 24, 2011 3:01:35 AM

Headline: "Money is gone, but Proposition 36's drug-treatment mandate remains."

For those of you who thought draining money from the criminal justice system meant draining money ONLY from incarceration, welcome to the real world.


Posted by: Bill Otis | Feb 24, 2011 3:05:45 AM

Confusing criticism with contempt must be component of right-wing thinking. Conservatives clearly have difficulty distinguishing the concept of America from the Lilliputians who sometimes end up running it.

Certainly my passion for America runs a good deal hotter in periods when it isn't so firmly in the clutches of soulless politicians and the plutocrats who buy them off as it is now.

Nonetheless, what I always love about America is that it's OK (it is still OK, isn't it, Bill?) to point out when it falls short of the high ideals it purports to embody.

Posted by: John K | Feb 24, 2011 11:20:19 AM

John K --

"Confusing criticism with contempt must be component of right-wing thinking."

Trying to pass off contempt as mere criticism is most certainly a component of left-wing thinking, as you once again illustrate. Indeed, it's getting to be SOP.

Sneering "Three cheers for the red, white and blue" is just sticking your tongue out, nothing more.

You are capable of thoughtful criticism, sure, and have put up a number of critical posts. You are also capable of contempt, and you post here was one of that variety.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Feb 24, 2011 1:38:31 PM

Uh huh. Always far easier to fulminate about whether an opponent was duly respectful of your sacred symbols and shibboleths than to address the essence of his argument.

Conjuring up incendiary rhetoric to demonize opponents (targets...persons of interest...etc.) must be a hard habit to break.

Posted by: John K | Feb 24, 2011 8:34:10 PM

John K --

"Always far easier to fulminate about whether an opponent was duly respectful of your sacred symbols and shibboleths than to address the essence of his argument."

1. Do you know what "fulminate" means?

2. The United States is neither sacred nor a symbol. It is, however, a country that has been a greater force for good and generosity than any country of comparable economic and military strength, ever. It would not hurt you to acknowledge this fact, or even -- dare I say it -- compose your remarks in light of it.

It is also a country of incredible decency, valor and benevolence, and it wouldn't hurt you to acknowledge that either.

3. I would be happy to address the essence of such argument as you might make, and have done so many times, as you know. In the comment to which I am referring, however, you don't make anything recognizable as an "argument." You just sneer.

As the Left might do well to understand, there is a difference between arguing and sneering.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Feb 24, 2011 10:07:38 PM

sorry bill but you need to change one word in this!

"It is, however, a country that has been a greater force for good and generosity than any country of comparable economic and military strength, ever."

should read

"It WAS however, a country that has been a greater force for good and generosity than any country of comparable economic and military strength, ever."

Yes it once was a bright light showing the world the way to freedom for it's citizens...Now it's fell into a slime filled pool of filth it may NEVER climb out of.

Posted by: rodsmith | Feb 25, 2011 1:09:08 AM

the statement above does not mean i don't think it's pretty much better hands down than most other countries in the world. Just that i think our citizens and their govt have become spoiled and lazy and have lost the vital atributes and guidlines that made this country great.

Posted by: rodsmith | Feb 25, 2011 1:10:42 AM

1.) Yes, fulminate: 1. to criticize severely. 2. to issue denunciations (against) 4. to thunder; hence, to make a loud, sudden noise 5. to issue or send forth decrees or censures with the assumption of supreme authority. to utter or send out with denunciations or censures; -- said especially of menaces or censures uttered by ecclesiastical authority.

I particularly like that last definition and it's pretty much what I had in mind when I wrote the word.

2.) I believe we were talking about the flag (red, white and blue), which is indeed a symbol. Beyond that, my patriotism is personal. I don't wear it on my sleeve or make showy public declarations about it. Though pointing out the country's failures and hypocrisies does strike me as a patriotic thing to do.

3.) If what I said fell short of a complete argument, then how about just addressing the point: Incarceration for profit is a shameful, destructive idea in a country that proclaims liberty as its highest ideal. Overcriminalization has run amok, fueled in no small part by lobbying efforts by profiteering prison companies and guard unions. Ergo...too many laws, too much enforcement, overly severe punishment and, ultimately, too little regard for the ideals embodied in our lofty slogans.

Or was that too disrespectful?

Posted by: John K | Feb 25, 2011 10:01:43 AM

i think you hit it right on the head myself john K!

just like people it is possible to LOVE a country and still HATE what it does!

Posted by: rodsmith | Feb 25, 2011 6:08:40 PM

I am currently residing in Sacramento, where i personally think the drug problem is at its worst in California. Prop 36 funding or lack of ,is the topic if I am not mistaken , is being given back to the defendants that committed the drug crimes. If that is the case why are they receiving funding at all?

Posted by: Jason Frazelle | Jun 14, 2011 1:13:13 AM

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