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Crushing Defeat For California Reform
December 2008

Crushing Defeat For California ReformSeeking to expand upon the success of the pathbreaking passage of Proposition 36, which mandated treatment for many non-violent drug offenders in the state, George Soros backed advocates were handed a crushing defeat on Proposition 5 in November. The work almost entirely of drug law reform group Drug Policy Alliance, DPA, the measure sought a much broader decriminalization of drugs. But in an effort to keep control of the proposition and avoid watering down its provisions, DPA admits it worked almost entirely alone in crafting the law. The result was that drug court judges failed to support the measure, saying it limited judges ability to punish non-compliance. Thus, the drug courts, usually allies of the treatment centers and others that support non-punitive approaches to drug consumption, broke ranks and joined California’s “prison industrial complex” - prison guards, police, DAs, etc.. whose jobs are dependent on the current justice system that is clogged with drug cases - in opposing Prop 5. The failure of Prop 5 is disturbing in that it shows the electorate is still not ready for wholesale reform.

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