Prop 36 Treatment Continues Despite Funding Challenges

On behalf of The Law Offices of Michael L. Davidson posted in DUI on Wednesday, July 20, 2011.

Just one incident or bad decision can provide police with all the evidence they need to build a drug possession case against men and women in California. Prior to the year 2000, a guilty conviction would have resulted in fines and prison time. However, legislation enacted in 2000 changed the standard punishment proceedings.

Proposition 36 (Prop 36), The Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act, was passed by a majority of California voters in November 2000. At that time, California ranked tenth among states for drug use. Voters recognized that the traditional punishment of jailing simple drug crimes offenders was not working to prevent drug use, and they decided to try something different: treatment.

Due to Prop 36, first-time and second-time offenders convicted for nonviolent drug possession or being under the influence of drugs automatically receive mandated probation with drug treatment instead of being sent to prison. These drug-treatment programs are community based and offer a variety of services that may include:

  • Outpatient treatment
  • Halfway house treatment
  • Narcotic replacement therapy
  • Drug education or prevention courses
  • Limited inpatient or residential treatment

Initially, dedicated funding for Prop 36 rolled into the coffers over the course of five years resulting in a drug treatment trust fund of $600 million. However, the fund was depleted in 2006 after benefiting more than 150,000 individuals. Since then, it has competed with other state priorities for support.

Prop 36 continues to mandate treatment instead of incarceration, but the budget challenges in California make ongoing treatment funding uncertain. Decisions by the legislature in the coming weeks will determine if additional financial support will be granted. Meanwhile, proponents’ efforts to secure increased funding for diversion programs remain undaunted.


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The Law Offices of Michael L. Davidson
411 Borel Avenue
San Mateo, CA 94402

Phone: 650-573-8000
Fax: 650-345-9875
San Mateo Law Office