A new study from UCLA reports California has saved about $800 million over the last five years by sentencing non-violent drug offenders to community-based drug treatment programs rather than prison.
When Californians passed by referendum proposition 36, which gave non-violent drug offenders a chance to enter drug rehab rather than serve jail time, many thought it would lead to a crime wave, including the Contra Costa Times editorial staff. Today they are encouraged by the numbers and are urging the Legislature to re-fund Prop. 36 before it expires this year. The Good News Network agrees with their reasoning:
With California’s prisons bursting at the seams, hardly able to accommodate all of the violent felons, Prop. 36 is a common sense way of relieving pressure on the criminal justice system… Even if only one in four non-violent offenders manages to turn his or her life around, that has a significant impact not only on the individuals, but on their families and, by extension, society as a whole. (Full Opinion here)