U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Band-Aids and Bullhorns: Why California's Drug Policy Is Failing and What We Can Do to Fix It

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice Policy Review Volume: 23 Issue: 1 Dated: March 2012 Pages: 108-135
Date Published
March 2012
28 pages
This article discusses the California Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act of 2000 (SACPA, a.k.a. Proposition 36).

California voters had high hopes when they passed the Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act of 2000 (SACPA, a.k.a. Proposition 36). The law, one of the most extensive diversion-to-treatment laws to date, was intended to divert and treat 36,000 drug offenders annually. Unfortunately the law has not lived up to voter or practitioner expectations. Insufficient funding derailed the legislation by making it impossible to provide offenders either appropriate substance abuse treatment or adequate probation supervision. Stakeholders expressed consternation with aspects of the legislation that, in their view, led to SACPA being less successful than it could have been. Specifically, the universal application of the treatment-in-lieu-of-incarceration law forced stakeholders to accommodate offenders unmotivated-to-change and unsuitable for many treatment settings; and prohibiting shock incarceration removed a deterrent to violating program rules. Based on information gathered through stakeholder surveys and interviews, four policy recommendations are offered to improve the effectiveness of SACPA. (Published Abstract)

Date Published: March 1, 2012