Does Proposition 36 Provide Sufficient Funds?
After California voters yesterday approved
Proposition 36, which would allocate $120 million annually to treat nonviolent drug offenders instead of imprisoning them, many officials are saying that the "change would rattle the criminal justice system and strain already overburdened treatment programs," the Los Angeles Times reports. According to the state's nonpartisan legislative analyst, each year as many as 36,000 drug offenders will be diverted from prison or jail into treatment. On Wednesday, "experts" said that millions of dollars more than the proposition allocates are necessary to implement the program, pay for oversight and keep participants from relapsing. Although the proposition provides funding for treatment expenses, many officials also worry that other costs, including court expenses and expanding the number of probation officers, would go "unmet" (Warren/Weinstein, Los Angeles Times, 11/9). Stating that the proposition's "whopping 60% victory" signaled voter dissatisfaction with drug crime sentences," a Los Angeles Times editorial states that now Gov. Gray Davis (D) and the Legislature must "figure out how to implement this measure without wasting lives, time or taxpayer millions" (Los Angeles Times, 11/9). The proposition is set to take full effect in July (Warren/Weinstein, Los Angeles Times, 11/9).