Proposition 36 May ‘Carry Us Too Far’ in Treating Criminals, Press-Enterprise Says
As Proposition 36, a voter-approved initiative that sends nonviolent first- and second-time drug offenders to treatment rather than jail is implemented, it "resembl[es] the original blueprint less and less" and might go "too far" in trying to treat criminals with "serious, long-term addictions," according to a Riverside Press-Enterprise editorial. Judges have said they were "expecting" Proposition 36 to rehabilitate offenders with "modest drug problems," but four months after the law took effect in July 2001, half of those in treatment in San Diego County "reported 10-year-battles with drugs," the Press-Enterprise states. This "widespread" finding is cause for "concer[n]" because more hardened criminals, in addition to being "expensive, long-term investment[s]," could become "heavy user[s] of a social infrastructure that probably is not prepared for the job." While California previously focused "too much on incarceration," the Press-Enterprise says Proposition 36 "looms increasingly large" and the difficulty of treating serious drug offenders will "be revealed over time" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 1/29).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.