Proposition 36 Brings ‘Few Surprises’ in Fresno County
Since Proposition 36 was implemented on July 1, the law has "yielded few surprises" in Fresno County, the Fresno Bee reports. Proposition 36 is the voter-approved initiative that calls for most nonviolent first- and second-time drug offenders to be directed toward treatment instead of jail. The Bee reports that approximately 80 defendants have been sentenced to treatment in Fresno County under the new law, a number "slightly higher" than officials had anticipated. Nancy Cisneros, a court commissioner who is overseeing the court process for the law, said, "I'm really pleased with the groundwork we laid and the work we did beforehand. We moved into this and we're getting people into treatment, which is the purpose of the law. But Susan Thompson, a county administrative support officer who led the effort to implement Proposition 36, cautioned that it is still too early to make wide assessments. One of the major concerns of county officials in Fresno and statewide is whether there will be enough funding to support treatment programs. Thompson said, "It's early, it's really early in the process to be making predictions, but we think we're going to be OK in terms of the dollars." Meanwhile, other area counties have reported few problems with the new law. In Tulare County, 75 defendants were sentenced to treatment under Proposition 36, fewer than officials had expected. In Madera County, no one was sentenced under the law during the first month, and in Kings County, 33 defendants were deemed eligible for treatment under the law (Davis, Fresno Bee, 8/16). However, in some counties, implementation of the new law has raised concerns. For example, in Los Angeles County, officials are divided over whether people convicted of drug offenses before Proposition 36 took effect July 1 are eligible for the initiative's treatment programs (California Healthline, 7/24).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.