Pubdate: Mon, 23 Oct 2006
Source: Arizona Republic (Phoenix, AZ)
Copyright: 2006 The Arizona Republic
Author: Roma Thomas


Voters: Beware of unintended consequences and vote "no" on 
Proposition 301. If this proposition passes, it would deny hundreds 
of people the opportunity for drug treatment and would clog our 
prisons with more non-violent addicts.

A study was done recently in Nebraska for the Department of 
Correctional Services (reported in /The Republic/). It showed that 
the get-tough meth law that took effect there last year, combined 
with normal expected growth in the prison population, will require 
many additional prison beds and will cost millions.

Where will the funding come from for the Arizona Department of 
Corrections if this proposition passes?

Treatment for all addicts is far more cost-effective than 
incarceration, and certainly more humane. The 1996 voter-approved 
Drug Medicalization, Prevention and Control Act, which provides 
probation and treatment for low-level drug offenders, must continue 
to be honored. And it has saved millions of tax dollars.

Let's give low-level, non-violent meth users the chance to 
participate in a successful, proven drug treatment program. Don't 
discriminate. Meth addiction is treatable. Judges already have the 
authority to sentence all violent offenders to prison. It is 
overzealous prosecutors who want to further their conviction rate for 
political purposes that have convinced legislators to re-write the 
original voter-approved initiative.

In 1996, Arizona voters got it right the first time!

Roma Thomas, Sun City West
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