I was addicted to crack cocaine and my life was one that California's criminal justice system saw fit to discard. When I got the treatment I needed, I was able to summon the strength to find a way out.
Right now, there is a bill in Sacramento that will help to stop the waste - in lives and dollars - that's endemic to California's over-incarceration crisis.
Senate Bill 1506 (D-Leno) revises the penalty for the simple possession of drugs under state law from a felony to a misdemeanor. Please ask your state senator to support this important reform when it comes up for a vote before the end of the month.Why is this bill so smart? This bill:
- saves $1 billion over five years by reducing prison and jail spending.
- allows local and state government to dedicate resources to probation, drug treatment and mental health services, which have proven most effective in reducing crime.
- frees up law enforcement resources to focus on more serious offenses.
California can no longer afford to continue locking up thousands of people each year and branding them "felon" for life simply for possessing a small amount of illicit drugs for personal use.
Playwright and Activist
ACLU of Southern California
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For low-level drug offenders, treatment – not incarceration – is effective crime prevention.
California can no longer afford to continue locking up thousands of people each year for years
on end and branding them "felon" for life simply for possessing a small amount of illicit drugs
for personal use. The waste, in dollars and lives, is far too great.
State Senator Mark Leno is sponsoring Senate Bill 1506 to revise the penalty for the simple
drug possession under state law from a felony a misdemeanor. The legislation will free up
funding that can be used effectively to help more people get the treatment they need. It will
help to safely relieve overcrowding in our jails and prisons. And it will remove barriers to
community reintegration that work against sobriety and public safety.
Tell your state senator to support SB 1506 for meaningful drug law reform in California.
Note: SB 1506 does not change the penalty for sales, manufacturing, transportation or
possession for sale.
"Everybody here should be calling their representatives,
sending letters, flooding the place, saying 'we don't want
people branded felons for the rest of their lives because
they were once caught with drugs'."
-- Michelle Alexander
Author of "The New Jim Crow"