Pubdate: Tue, 14 Nov 2000
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2000 Los Angeles Times
Contact:  Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles, CA 90053
Fax: (213) 237-7679
Author: Redford Givens
Bookmark: For Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act items:


* Re "Critics Fear Reform May Strain Drug Programs," Nov. 9: The revelation 
by Los Angeles County judges that the number of offenders diverted into 
treatment as a result of Prop. 36 will increase twentyfold shows the fraud 
of the current drug court system, which only treats about 5% of offenders. 
The drug warriors have been bragging about a diversion system that never 
remotely accomplished what they claimed. Prop. 36 will force hypocritical 
drug crusaders to live up to the promises they made when the drug courts 
were created.

Prop. 36 will save California over a billion dollars in the next five 
years, so any strains on the current system can easily be corrected by 
diverting prison savings into treatment. Treating drug users instead of 
jailing them is cheaper and better for society in every way.

It's time for the hidebound drug crusaders who believe that a prison cell 
is the only treatment for drug use to depart from the scene and leave drug 
problems to people with answers, not more problems.

Redford Givens, San Francisco
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