Pubdate: Fri, 09 Jun 2000
Date: 06/09/2000
Source: Sacramento Bee (CA)
Author: Gayle Denney
Authors: Gayle Denney

Re "Treat, don't jail, illegal drug users?" May 31: I read with great
excitement that our November ballot may include an initiative that
would mandate a treatment program, rather than jail, for anyone
arrested for simple drug possession. It is not surprising that the
union representing prison guards opposes the initiative.

In the last 20 years of teaching G.E.D. preparation, I have met many
adults who had previously been incarcerated because of drug use.
Prison's badge of shame did not change their drug habits. On the
contrary, they credit programs such as Narcotics Anonymous for ending
the terrible leghold of drug abuse.

Self-abusing alcohol and tobacco doesn't land good people in prison.
Why should using other drugs account for 20,000 of California's sons
and daughters who have no history of serious or violent crime being
incarcerated? Instead, let's spend our taxpayer money on mandatory
drug treatment.

Gayle Denney,
Nevada City

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