Implementation and Impact of California's Proposition 36

Implementation and Impact of California's Proposition 36

PIs: Martin Iguchi, Nancy Merritt

Funded by: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

In November 2000, California voters approved Proposition 36, which mandates probation and community-based drug treatment--instead of prison--for nonviolent drug possession offenses. In light of the initiative's passage into law, some have raised concerns about the ability of the criminal justice and drug treatment systems to form an effective partnership capable of meeting the challenges posed by Proposition 36. RAND and Orange County, Calif., have established a collaboration to evaluate the implementation of Proposition 36 at the county level. With a population of 2.8 million, Orange County is larger than many states and thus serves as an ideal model for system-wide implementation of Proposition 36. The county also represents a wide variety of ethnic groups and community types, making study findings relevant to a variety of populations. The evaluation will focus on the response of law enforcement to Proposition 36; the impact of Proposition 36 on prosecutorial discretion and case filing, the courts and probation, and the treatment delivery system; and the collaborative planning efforts of treatment and criminal justice system actors in Orange County. The analysis will take advantage of Orange County's sophisticated automated data systems, and will also use interviews and focus groups.