LAO Report Outlines ‘Challenges’ for Prop. 36 Implementation
Implementing Prop. 36 by its July 1 deadline will require "unusual collaboration" between county and state agencies, which have a "less-than-stellar" history of cooperation, according to a state Legislative Analyst's Office report released yesterday. Approved by 61% of voters last month, Prop. 36 was calls for moving nonviolent drug offenders into treatment instead of prison. According to the report, to meet the July deadline, county officials will need to assess the capacity of treatment facilities, and state officials need to develop a formula to distribute funding to the counties. In addition, both county and state officials need to address a shortage of probation supervisors.
The report also notes that it still remains uncertain which government agencies will "take the lead" with implementation of Prop. 36. Several state agencies are already involved with Prop. 36, including the Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs, Board of Prison Terms and Department of Corrections. At the county level, alcohol and drug agencies, probation departments and trial courts will be involved (Hill, Sacramento Bee, 12/15). According to the report, "Prop. 36 envisions specific roles for state and local agencies, but does not designate a single entity as being in charge at either the state or local level. The Legislature may wish to consider enacting legislation to designate a lead state or county agency to take charge" (Wallace, San Francisco Chronicle, 12/15). Under the Prop. 36, the state will pay $120 million annually to counties for treatment programs. Counties will receive an additional $60 million between now and July 1. County officials are "eager" to resolve the issues, particularly the funding formula. Toni Moore, Sacramento County alcohol and drug administrator, said, "The sooner we can get that information, the better. Right now, we're planning in the dark around the fiscal piece." Craig Cornett, one of the study's authors, said, "There is going to have to be a lot of collaboration among the key players." Campaign for New Drug Policies, the group that sponsored Prop. 36, willl sponsor a one-day conference Monday in Sacramento to discuss implemenation issues (Sacramento Bee, 12/15). To view the LAO report go to http://www.lao.ca.gov/2000_reports/prop36/121400_prop_36.html.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.