About Prop 36

The Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act, also known as Proposition 36, was passed by 61% of California voters on November 7, 2000. This initiative allows first and second time non-violent, simple drug possession offenders the opportunity to receive substance abuse treatment instead of incarceration. Proposition 36 allocates $120 million annually for five and one half years to pay for treatment services. However, due to the large disparity between incarceration and treatment costs this initiative may lead to cost savings.

On January 1, 2001 the first allocation of $60 million was distributed to all 58 California counties to prepare the treatment system for the new influx of clients diverted under Proposition 36. The California State Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs has instituted a set of emergency regulations to govern the Proposition 36 program, as well as define how initiative funds may be used. On July 1, 2001 Proposition 36 went into effect and an additional $120 million was allocated to the counties. To date a majority of the California counties are diverting fewer offenders into Proposition 36 than originally anticipated. However, as in the beginning of any new program, the state and counties must wait and see how many people will be able to take advantage of this diversion system.

The University of California at Los Angeles has been chosen to run the required evaluation of Proposition 36. This study will help state legislators determine the future of the program after the first 5 years as mandated by the voters of California. This study will also show the overall impact that this program will have both socially and financially.