Riverside County Supervisors Vote To Reduce Budget by 50% for Rehabilitation Centers
The Riverside County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted to reduce by more than 50% funds for rehabilitation centers that treat drug offenders under Proposition 36, a move that will likely result in decreased access to drug treatment programs, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports. Proposition 36, a voter-approved ballot measure enacted in July 2001, allows many first- and second-time drug offenders to receive treatment rather than prison sentences. The board reduced the combined budget for the 23 rehabilitation centers from $4.37 million to $2 million for fiscal year 2003-2004, which begins July 1. In the past, the county has enrolled about 3,200 patients each year in Proposition 36 drug treatment programs but estimates that enrollment next year will decrease by about 1,000 patients because of the budget reductions (Seaton, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 6/25). John Ryan, director of the county Department of Mental Health, told the board that the county might have to place drug offenders on waiting lists for treatment as a result of the budget reductions (Los Angeles Times, 6/25). Supervisor Jim Venable said that county judges have expressed concern about the budget reductions, and Supervisor Bob Buster requested a cost analysis of Proposition 36 treatment programs (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 6/25).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.