Pubdate: Sun, 22 Oct 2000
Date: 10/22/2000
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Author: Jeremy Anderson

Kreber sings the drug courts' praises and condemns Proposition 36, as
if the choice we face is between the two. That is false.  He can point
only to 275 graduates of the drug court system in Orange County over
the last five years; that is because the vast majority of nonviolent
drug offenders here and elsewhere receive only fines and prison sentences.

The majority of them commit more crimes after doing their

That is the true status quo in California, and a better picture of
the choice we face: continue paying many thousands per drug offender
per year in jail again and again, or try paying a small fraction of
that for treatment that is demonstrated to be more effective than
prison at preventing repeat offenses.  A nice side benefit is that we
could use the prison space freed up by Proposition 36 to hold people
who commit serious crimes, like burglary and assault, instead of
having to either let them go prematurely because of prison
overcrowding or spend megabucks on new prisons. Who outside the prison
industry has a problem with that?

Jeremy Anderson,
Costa Mesa