For Prop 47 Advocates, Battle To Fund Mental Health, Substance Abuse Programs Isn’t Over
The measure, which downgraded certain petty criminal offenses, was supposed to create savings to be used for mental health and substance abuse treatment. But the formula used by the state has the amount of money devoted to the programs falling quite short of the original estimates.
The Sacramento Bee:
Where Did California’s Savings From Reducing Drug Penalties Go?
Proposition 47, which passed in 2014, reduced drug possession and some crimes of petty theft, check forgery and receiving stolen property from felonies to misdemeanors. The initiative mandated that savings from downgrading these offenses be spent on mental health and substance abuse treatment, victim services and truancy prevention. Voters were told the shift in emphasis from prison to rehabilitation could result in savings in “the low hundreds of millions.” Yet the final savings figure to pay for prevention and treatment – reached after months of tense disagreements and accusations of betrayal – is far below the original estimate. (Cohrs, 7/26)