Alternatives to Incarceration


With the state’s budget deficit worsening and prison overcrowding reaching crisis levels, California voters are looking for effective solutions. Proposition 5 builds on California’s proven treatment alternatives to incarceration for nonviolent drug offenders. According to the nonpartisan California Legislative Analyst’s Office, Prop. 5 will expand access to proven treatment programs while cutting state costs.

The savings – in lives and taxpayer dollars – of California’s existing treatment programs is the theme of “Success Story,” a new TV spot released today by the Yes on 5 campaign and now airing statewide. The ad focuses on Proposition 36, the treatment-instead-of-incarceration program approved by voters in 2000, which has so far graduated 84,000 nonviolent drug offenders and cut state spending on incarceration by more than $2 billion. The ad comes just days after the release of a new study on Proposition 36.

Al Senella, president of the California Association of Alcohol and Drug Program Executives, said, “The proof is in the research: treatment works and it cuts costs. But Prop. 36 hasn’t been adequately funded. That means some people aren’t getting all the help they need and taxpayers aren’t seeing all the savings they should. Inadequate investment in treatment means higher costs later.”

Conducted by independent researchers at UCLA, the October 14 report found that Prop. 36 consistently serves 35,000 nonviolent drug offenders each year, saves $2 for every $1 spent, and that program graduates have lower recidivism rates.

Tom Renfree, executive director of the County Alcohol and Drug Program Administrators Association of California, said, “UCLA showed that the program needs individualized treatment, increased supervision and improved accountability. Prop. 5 delivers on all these recommendations. For those not satisfied with Prop. 36, Prop. 5 is the answer. It will improve outcomes and further cut costs.”

The New York Times editorial board, which has a policy of not endorsing state ballot initiatives, all but endorsed Prop. 5 on Saturday (10-25-08). The Legislative Analyst’s Office found that Prop. 5 will lower incarceration costs by $1 billion each year and eliminate $2.5 billion in prison construction costs. And that doesn’t include savings related to reduced crime, fewer social services costs (e.g. emergency room visits, welfare) or increased individual productivity.

Prop. 36 has been a huge success. What all the research tells us is that treatment can be even more successful at cutting recidivism and prison spending. That’s why Prop. 5 is on the ballot.

MARGARET DOOLEY-SAMMULI is the deputy campaign manager for the “Yes on 5″ campaign, based in Los Angeles.





October 07, 2015
Nancy Scheper-Hughes
Witness to a Troubled Saint-Making: Junipero Serra and the Theology of Failure
Luciana Bohne
The Double-Speak of American Civilian Humanitarianism
Joyce Nelson
TPP: Big Pharma’s Big Deal
Jonathan Cook
Israel Lights the Touchpaper at Al-Aqsa Again
Joseph Natoli
The Wreckage in Sight We Fail To See
Piero Gleijeses
Jorge Risquet: the Brother I Never Had
Andrew Stewart
Do #BlackLivesMatter to Dunkin’ Donuts?
Rajesh Makwana
#GlobalGoals? The Truth About Poverty and How to Address It
Joan Berezin
Elections 2016: A New Opening or Business as Usual?
Dave Randle
The Man Who Sold Motown to the World
Adam Bartley
“Shameless”: Hillary Clinton, Human Rights and China
Binoy Kampmark
The Killings in Oregon: Business as Usual
Harvey Wasserman
Why Bernie and Hillary Must Address America’s Dying Nuke Reactors
Tom H. Hastings
Unarmed Cops and a Can-do Culture of Nonviolence
October 06, 2015
Vijay Prashad
Afghanistan, the Terrible War: Money for Nothing
Mike Whitney
How Putin will Win in Syria
Paul Street
Yes, There is an Imperialist Ruling Class
Paul Craig Roberts
American Vice
Kathy Kelly
Bombing Hospitals: 22 People Killed by US Airstrike on Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan
Ron Jacobs
Patti Smith and the Beauty of Memory
David Macaray
Coal Executive Finally Brought Up on Criminal Charges
Norman Pollack
Cold War Rhetoric: The Kept Intelligentsia
Cecil Brown
The Firing This Time: School Shootings and James Baldwin’s Final Message
Roger Annis
The Canadian Election and the Global Climate Crisis
W. T. Whitney
Why is the US Government Persecuting IFCO/Pastors for Peace Humanitarian Organization?
Jesse Jackson
Alabama’s New Jim Crow Far From Subtle
Joe Ramsey
After Umpqua: Does America Have a Gun Problem….or a Dying Capitalist Empire Problem?
Murray Dobbin
Rise Up, Precariat! Cheap Labour is Over
October 05, 2015
Michael Hudson
Parasites in the Body Economic: the Disasters of Neoliberalism
Patrick Cockburn
Why We Should Welcome Russia’s Entry Into Syrian War
Kristine Mattis
GMO Propaganda and the Sociology of Science
Heidi Morrison
Well-Intentioned Islamophobia
Ralph Nader
Monsanto and Its Promoters vs. Freedom of Information
Arturo Desimone
Retro-Colonialism: the Exportation of Austerity as War By Other Means
Robert M. Nelson
Noted Argentine Chemist Warns of Climate Disaster
Matt Peppe
Misrepresentation of the Colombian Conflict
Barbara Dorris
Pope Sympathizes More with Bishops, Less with Victims
Clancy Sigal
I’m Not a Scientologist, But I Wish TV Shrinks Would Just Shut Up
Chris Zinda
Get Outta’ Dodge: the State of the Constitution Down in Dixie
Eileen Applebaum
Family and Medical Leave Insurance, Not Tax Credits, Will Help Families
Pierre-Damien Mvuyekure
“Boxing on Paper” for the Nation of Islam, Black Nationalism, and the Black Athlete: a Review of “The Complete Muhammad Ali” by Ishmael Reed
Lawrence Ware
Michael Vick and the Hypocrisy of NFL Fans
Gary Corseri - Charles Orloski
Poets’ Talk: Pope Francis, Masilo, Marc Beaudin, et. al.
Weekend Edition
October 2-4, 2015
Henry Giroux
Murder, USA: Why Politicians Have Blood on Their Hands
Mike Whitney
Putin’s Lightning War in Syria