Making Prop. 36 Cuts Sting Slightly Less Painfully

Jail Diversion Participants Contemplate Budget Cut Strategies

After an intense five-hour meeting Monday afternoon, members of Theraputic Justice System’s policy council hammered out a fragile peace over how best to share the pain associated with a $1 million cut to Prop. 36-funded programs designed to divert non-violent substance abusers from jail to treatment. In response to these cuts, the length of treatment provided will be reduced from 18 months to 12. Some service providers worry this reduction in time diminishes the effectiveness of the treatment. They also worry that the number of people likely to benefit will drop from 600 a year to 400. Supporters of this approach counter that the treatment reductions are necessary to prevent waiting lists from becoming a reality. Initially, it appeared that the non-profit agencies providing recovery services would bear the entire brunt of the cuts. But as of Monday, the two judges on the council agreed to assume $12,000 in reductions, and the department of Alcohol Drugs and Mental Health agreed to absorb a $70,000 hit. The non-profits will still assume the lion’s share of pain, but it will be $64,000 less pain.


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