April 18, 2007
this page to a friend
Prop. 36 Graduates Form Chain of
Recovery at State Capitol, Celebrate
Program Has Graduated Over 70,000
Californians and Saved Taxpayers
Over $1.5 Billion in Six Years
Dave Fratello (310) 394-2952 or Margaret
Dooley (858) 336-3685
SACRAMENTO, April 18
– Hundreds of graduates and supporters
of California’s six-year-old, treatment-instead-of-incarceration
program, will gather on the West Steps
of the State Capitol Building today for
the second annual “Prop. 36 Works!”
rally and to form a human chain of recovery.
The event celebrates the program’s
success and draws attention to the positive
and contagious nature of recovery from
alcohol and drug addiction, as well as
the need for greater access to substance
abuse treatment for all Californians suffering
from addiction, especially those in the
criminal justice system.
Margaret Dooley, Prop.
36 coordinator for the Drug Policy Alliance,
said “We pass Prop. 36 graduates
on the street every day, but we don’t
know it—because they look like any
other Californian. Today is about bringing
some much-deserved attention to the state’s
70,000 graduates and celebrating their
hard-earned achievements. Their success
has had a huge positive impact not only
on their lives and their families, but
on all Californians.”
The theme of the day
“Building the Chain of Recovery”
highlights the positive and contagious
nature of recovery. In addition to reuniting
with family and re-entering the work force,
many Prop. 36 graduates are now certified
alcohol and drug counselors or active
in supporting others who are newer to
Rudy Mendez, a Prop.
36 graduate from San Diego’s Alpha
Project and a member of the La Jolla Band
of Luiseño Indians, said “For
generations, the men in my family have
suffered with alcoholism, drug addiction
and incarceration. But with the help of
Prop. 36 and my higher power, I have broken
that cycle and am helping others in my
family do the same. The first person to
follow me was my father. Now, two of my
cousins are on the road to long-term recovery.
I am blessed every day to share the gift
The benefits of Prop.
36 can also be counted in dollars saved.
According to UCLA, every $1 invested in
Prop. 36 saves taxpayers $2.50. For program
completers, every $1 invested saves $4.
UCLA put first year (2001-02) savings
at $173 million. The Legislative Analyst’s
Office has estimated that the state’s
$120 million annual investment in Prop.
36 resulted in net savings of $205 million
in 2002-03 and $297 million in 2004-05.
Conservatively estimating $200 million
in savings per year, total program savings
in six years surpasses $1.2 billion.
Nearly six years into
Prop. 36, the number of people incarcerated
for drug possession has fallen by 32%
(5,000 people). More than 1,000 Californians
on parole complete treatment under Prop.
36 each year instead of going back to
prison. By diverting so many into treatment,
Prop. 36 rendered unnecessary the construction
of a new men’s prison (saving an
addition $500 million) and also resulted
in the shuttering of a women’s prison.
This brings total savings to $1.7 billion.
The gathering of hundreds
of Prop. 36 graduates comes just days
after researchers at the University of
California at Los Angeles released their
latest analysis of Prop. 36, which finds
that the program needs at least $228.6
million to provide adequate services,
improve treatment outcomes and increase
taxpayer savings. UCLA’s figure
is $80 million higher than the state spent
on Prop. 36 in 2005-06, and $109 million
higher than the governor has proposed
spending in 2007-08.
Prop. 36 was approved by 61 percent of
voters in November 2000. A June 2004 poll
by the Field Institute showed support
for the law at 73 percent. Nearly 12,000
people have successfully completed substance
treatment during each year of Prop. 36’s
existence, putting the program on track
to graduate 72,000 Californians in its
first six years.
report is online
36 Fact Sheet
more press releases