Proposition 5 emphasizes treatment
October 9, 2008
The El Dorado County Board of Supervisors has come out against a proposition on the Nov. 4 ballot that would shorten parole periods for some people convicted of drug-related offenses.
At the request of District 4 Supervisor Ron Briggs, the Board of Supervisors unanimously opposed Proposition 5 at its Sept. 23 meeting, according to a press statement from the county.
Briggs called the proposition – known as the Nonviolent Offender Rehabilitation Act – a “scam” that would eliminate the county’s current drug programs and shift costs from the state of California to counties.
“In my opinion, the entire point of Proposition 5 is to transfer about a billion and a half dollars of state burden over to the counties,” Briggs said Thursday. “We can’t afford it.”
Approval of Proposition 5 is “effectively taking a good portion of the prison population and putting them into county jails,” Briggs added.
Margaret Dooley-Sammuli, deputy campaign manger for the “Yes on 5” campaign, called Briggs’ assertions about the effects of Prop 5 on county resources untrue, saying the funding mechanism works similarly to Proposition 36.
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That proposition – known as the Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act – was passed by 61 percent of California voters in November 2000. The proposition changed state law to allow first- and second-time nonviolent, simple drug possession offenders the opportunity to receive substance abuse treatment instead of incarceration.
“There is treatment in the state, fortunately,” Dooley-Sammuli said. “We’re talking about expanding and improving an existing system.”
“As far as where the money comes from, the project is a reallocation of an existing system,” Dooley-Sammuli added. “It’s a better way of spending the money we already have.”
The proposition has been widely opposed by law enforcement officials, as well as El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson.
“Shortening parole and relaxing standards for drug offenders actually increases costs because it invites more crime,” Pierson said in the statement. “From a law enforcement perspective, Proposition 5 is a get-out-of-jail-free card.”