Prop. 36 Has
Cut Prison Costs, Populations --
Voters approved Proposition
36 in November 2000 to reduce the incarceration
of nonviolent drug offenders. This measure
has had all of the predicted effects, and
more, on the state prison system since it
Far fewer inmates
serving time for drug possession - At
year-end 2003, there were 7,055 fewer
prison inmates serving time for simple
drug possession than in June 2000, when
the highest-ever total of 20,116 was
recorded, during the campaign for Prop.
36. This 35% decline left the total
number of inmates serving time for drug
possession at 13,061.
closed - In February 2003, the Northern
California Womens Facility was
closed, largely due to the reduction
in female inmates caused by Prop. 36.
Margot Bach, a spokeswoman for the California
Department of Corrections, said, There
are a lot of reasons the population
is down but we think the biggest
factor with the womens numbers
is Proposition 36. (San Francisco
Chronicle, April 21, 2002.)
$500 million saved
by building only one of two planned
prisons - When Prop. 36 was on the ballot
in 2000, California was planning to
build two new prisons by 2003 to keep
up with growing inmate populations.
The Legislative Analysts review
of Prop. 36 predicted savings of between
$450 million and $550 million as the
state would be able to delay the
construction of additional prison beds
as a result of this measure. Since
Prop. 36 was enacted, one of the planned
new prisons was built, but plans for
more have been scrapped.
rose less than 1% amid rise in crime
- In recent years, as the economy has
worsened, California has begun imprisoning
many more offenders for property crimes.
Yet the prison population rose just
0.7% after Prop. 36 was enacted, from
160,655 at year-end 2000 to 161,785
at year-end 2003. Prop. 36 made room
for these more serious offenders to
replace nonviolent drug users in prison.
is over - Rod Hickman, secretary of
the Youth and Adult Correctional Agency,
declared this summer, The era
of building prisons is essentially over.
(Sacramento Bee, July 12, 2004.) Prop.
36 played a major role in ending this
chapter in California history.
Over a dozen Proposition 36 fact sheets are available for download.
Topics include: the Effectiveness of Drug Treatment, Drug Courts/Deferred
Entry, and the California Correctional System.