The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes
Sunday, April 18, 2004
California's Proposition 36 - the prison goons' union loses occasionally, it seems
Listening to Franken's show on Friday , he had an interesting discussion on mandatory minimum sentences , in which it was mentioned in passing that a MMS reform had been passed in California.
California? What, you might ask, happened to Mike Jimenez and his California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA) wiseguys? How come the Octopus' suckers didn't engage its prey this time?
No idea, as yet. But that reform was passed is certainly true: the Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act (text) was approved as Prop 36 on November 7 2000 . In a nutshell,
This initiative allows first and second time non-violent, simple drug possession offenders the opportunity to receive substance abuse treatment instead of incarceration.
Apparently, a UCLA study showed that, even in the first year of operation, the new regime saved $275m compared with the old, lock 'em up approach.
And the CCPOA? I'm not sure. A cursory search  shows remarkably little in the way of online paper trail. Did the union know it was onto a loser and hold back? What happened to all those victim groups the goons use as a human shield? Not to mention the War on Drugs fanatics...
Reference to the Poor Man's Nexis as I write confirms that, with California prison coverage, little changes: the liberal press continually point out the injustices, and nobody much takes any notice. (Except for this Prop 36 thing...)
There is, it seems, a movement (site) to get a three strikes reform proposition on the ballot in November. (They have the signatures, apparently, and of course, there is no Hugo Chávez around to disallow them...)
Reaction of Polly Klaas's father :
If a twice-convicted rapist gets busted for stealing a crust of pizza, screw him. And you can quote me on that - crust of pizza, Bazooka Joe, whatever.
A 2002 edition (PDF) of Prison Focus has a ten year retrospective. Looks as if it has useful background.
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