June 27, 2001
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Prop. 36 Watchdog Issues 'Report Cards' on California
Counties' Implementation Plans
Best Grades Given for
Shifting from Criminal Justice to Public Health
Approach in Treating Drug Addiction
Go Into Effect July 1
Contact: Whitney Taylor, (916)
(Sacramento, June 27)
- Advocates of Proposition 36 - the new California initiative
that allows for treatment instead of jail for non-violent
drug offenders - issued 'report cards' today, grading
11 counties encompassing 75 percent of the state population
on the quality of their implementation plans.
With an "A" grade, San
Francisco ranked the highest, followed by San Mateo
(A-), Alameda (B), Orange (B), Los Angeles (B-), Fresno
(C), Riverside (C), Santa Clara (D+), San Diego (D+)
and Sacramento (D). The County of San Bernardino came
in last with a failing grade.
Advocates say the success of Prop.
36 - which goes into effect July 1 -depends fundamentally
on how it is implemented in counties across the state.
"We want the people of
California to get what they voted for," said
Glenn Backes, Director of Health and Harm Reduction
at The Lindesmith Center - Drug Policy Foundation,
a non-profit drug policy reform organization, which
issued the report cards. "We are embarking on
a new drug policy to break the cycle of addiction."
Grades, based on written implementation
plans submitted by each county to the State Department
of Alcohol and Drug Programs, incorporated the following
critical elements for success:
- Money for Treatment - Counties
were graded based on the percentage of funds allocated
directly to treatment-related costs. If allocated
properly, funds for Prop. 36 will save taxpayers
money in the long run, since incarceration is about
six times more expensive than treatment.
- Treatment Options- Grades
were given in this category based on the range of
treatment programs available in each county, including:
drug education, outpatient, intensive outpatient,
detoxification, residential, methadone maintenance,
vocational training, literacy training, family counseling,
and culturally-specific programs.
- Docs or Cops?-- This grade
reflects county officials' inclusion of public health
professionals in the planning and implementation
- Community Voices - Counties
were graded based on whether or not they: held community
forums as part of their planning process; publicized
their community forums; and/or had a balance of
criminal justice, community and public health representation
on their implementation task forces.
- Extra Credit - Extra credit
was given to San Francisco, Orange, Los Angeles
and Riverside Counties for issuing District Attorneys'
criminal charging guidelines, defining Prop. 36
eligibility." Such guidelines will help prevent
"over-charging" offenders, which would
make them ineligible for treatment under Proposition
"Counties will not get away
with using taxpayer money to fund more of the same
failed policies," said Whitney A. Taylor, Lindesmith-DPF's
Proposition 36 Implementation Director. "We hope
these criteria will help guide them in the right direction."
Proposition 36 - the Substance Abuse
and Crime Prevention Act - was passed by 61% of California
voters last November. The California State Legislative
Analyst's Office (LAO) estimates that this initiative
will divert approximately 37,000 low-level, non-violent
drug possession offenders from incarceration into
treatment at an approximate savings of $1.5 billion
over 5 years to California taxpayers.
"California is leading the nation
toward drug policies based on common sense, science,
public health and human rights," said Ethan Nadelmann,
Executive Director of Lindesmith-DPF. "Soon other
states, and eventually the federal government, will
to see the statewide report card and download both
the statewide report card and county report cards
in pdf format..
ATTENTION TELEVISION JOURNALISTS:
Drug treatment & Prop. 36 B-Roll is available
for overnight delivery. Please call Shayna Samuels
at (917) 544-8268 for more information.
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