Appellate Court Orders Release of Second Inmate in Conjunction with Proposition 36
A California appellate court on Tuesday ordered the release of a Los Angeles County inmate because of "ambiguities" surrounding which nonviolent drug offenders qualify for treatment instead of prison under Proposition 36, the Los Angeles Times reports. Proposition 36 is the voter-approved initiative that calls for most nonviolent first- and second-time drug offenders to be directed toward treatment instead of jail. Although Proposition 36 took effect July 1, the initiative "did not make clear" whether drug offenders convicted before that date would qualify for treatment instead of prison. Yesterday, the appellate court ordered the release of a man who pleaded guilty to drug charges before July 1 but was not sentenced until after that date. Tuesday's decision marks the second time in less than a week that a state appellate court has ordered the release of an inmate because of confusion over the details of Proposition 36 (Los Angeles Times, 7/25). Last week, a panel of the 2nd District Court of Appeals ordered the release of an inmate who had been convicted of cocaine possession in May and was sentenced to jail instead of treatment. The appellate court has agreed to hear arguments on the issue of Proposition 36 eligibility on Sept. 24 (California Healthline, 7/24).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.