Davis Should Restore Drug Court Funds Cut from Budget, Los Angeles Times Editorial States
Gov. Gray Davis (D) should restore the funding cut from drug courts in his most recent budget, a Los Angeles Times editorial states. The budget cuts funding for the courts, which offer nonviolent drug offenders treatment programs instead of jail time, by more than half, to $7 million. The editorial states that drug courts save money: While the state spends $15 million per year to operate the courts, it saves $43.4 million each year in reduced jail and foster care expenses, according to figures released last week by the Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs. In addition, while Davis may think that Proposition 36, which mandates treatment instead of prison for first- and second-time nonviolent drug offenders, has made the drug courts "unnecessary," the Times states that the courts can do three things that the "generally lenient" Proposition 36 cannot:
- Whereas Prop 36 prohibits judges from sentencing to treatment addicts who have ever sold drugs, drug courts do not have such a restriction.
- Drug courts can use "tough punishments" such as several-day jail terms for "recalcitrant offenders." Such "flash incarcerations" are prohibited under Proposition 36.
- Drug courts can extend treatment programs for repeat offenders.
The editorial states that if Davis does not restore funding for drug courts, the Legislature should do so (Los Angeles Times, 4/25). 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.