About 36% of Drug Offenders Sentenced Under Proposition 36 Not in Treatment Programs
About 36% of state drug offenders sentenced to treatment rather than prison under Proposition 36 have not complied with treatment requirements, a report released yesterday found, the AP/Ventura County Star reports. Proposition 36, the voter-approved ballot measure that sends nonviolent first- and second-time drug offenders to treatment rather than prison, took effect last July. The new report, conducted by the Drug Policy Alliance, which supported the 2000 ballot measure, found that only 64% of state drug offenders sentenced under Proposition 36 have complied with treatment requirements in the nine months since the measure took effect. Drug offenders who have not complied included individuals "waiting to be assessed and not yet put into programs and those between programs, as well as those who dropped out," according to the report (Thompson, AP/Ventura County Star, 4/10). Whitley Taylor, Proposition 36 director for the Drug Policy Alliance, said that some drug offenders do not have transportation to treatment programs or have "confusion about what is expected of them," which may contribute to noncompliance rates (Davis, Fresno Bee, 4/7). However, both supporters and opponents of Proposition 36 agreed that the compliance rate has improved since the measure took effect. Sacramento County reported the lowest compliance rate at 53%, while Los Angeles County reported the highest compliance rate at 78%. Ventura, Contra Costa and San Diego counties reported compliance rates of 54%, 61% and 72%, respectively. State drug treatment and law enforcement officials hope to develop legislation to increase compliance rates through improved communication with drug offenders and programs to assist them with paperwork and transportation (AP/Ventura County Star, 4/10).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.