Only Seven California Counties Do Not Require Drug Testing for Proposition 36 Offenders
Only seven of California's 58 counties do not require drug testing for nonviolent drug offenders sentenced under Proposition 36, a Health Systems Research Inc. report found (Fresno Bee, 10/5). Proposition 36, the ballot measure voters approved last November, sends nonviolent first- and second-time drug offenders to treatment programs rather than prison (California Healthline, 10/1). Drug testing is "integral to effective treatment and holding offenders accountable," Larry Brown, executive director of the California District Attorneys Association, said. He is "encouraged" that 51 counties require drug tests, but is "concerned" that seven counties do not. Because Proposition 36 prohibits counties from using their share of the $120 million the state distributed for drug treatment programs to test offenders for drugs, some counties are using county money to pay for the testing. Other counties, like Fresno County, are charging offenders fees to for the tests. The Bee reports that most counties are "counting on" Gov. Gray Davis (D) to sign a bill (SB 223) that would give counties $18 million in state and federal money for drug testing. According to a Davis spokesperson, the governor "likely won't decide" on the bill until next week, "days before the Oct. 14 deadline" (Fresno Bee, 10/5).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.