Essay Preview: Proposition 36
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On November 2000, 61% of California voted for Proposition 36. If this law passes it would apply to first or second time nonviolent drug offenders who uses or possess illegal drug, to serve their time in a drug treatment program instead of jail or prison. California Proposition 36 is part of the nation movement trying to improve drug laws so that it will not be a Public Health Addiction Policy rather than a war on drugs. In Proposition 36 the government, lawmakers and the people are the stakeholder.
The main focus of this paper is Treatment Center versus Prison for drug offenders in the state of California. If this law passes California would be number one for allowing treatment for drug offenders. It will also help defendants to have their criminal charges or conviction dismissed if they complete a court approved drug treatment program. Studies have shown that drug treatment is more effective than prison in reducing future activity. There may be other factors that might need to be considered when dealing with non-violent drug offenders. Some may believe the only way to deal with offenders is to lock them up, while others may feel that the solution to the problem is going to a treatment center. There can be positive and negative aspect for proposition
36. For example, the spending of tax money, Rehab does not always work, not all offenders are qualified for this program, having overcrowding prison and also they provide training for those that are on probation. Employment may also increase for proposition 36 clients if they completed treatment. According to researchers it costs millions of dollars per year to house inmate in California prison.
The most interesting one that I have read about is that not all drug offenders qualify for this program. For example, the offenders that refuse the treatment or who have a firearm and is under the influence of certain drug will not be able to participate in the program. Offenders who enter the program and did not complete successfully will be sentence to jail. If the offenders are eligible they can received up one year of drug treatment and six months of follow up care. Also if they are convicted of nonviolent drug possession they will be sentenced to probation and drug treatment instead of jail. By not qualifying everyone for this program will help cut down on the overcrowding of the jail.
According to one article Proposition 36 has provided treatment to over 30,000 people a year, some of these people had never had any type of treatment before. One third of the offenders complete the treatment and probation; and about half stay in treatment for 90 days. This reduces the number of people that are in prison for drug possession. It also stated that before Proposition 36 there were about 20,116 of people in prison for drug possession. The number dropped