SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Thousands of California drug offenders could end up without treatment or jail time because of a clash between the state’s new budget and an initiative voters approved nine years ago.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and legislators slashed funding for drug programs to help close a $26 billion deficit this week.
Proposition 36 had diverted 36,000 nonviolent first-and second-time drug offenders each year from prisons and jails into treatment programs since it was approved in 2000.
Officials say many of those offenders will now face long waits and inadequate treatment. But they can’t be sent to jail, even if diversion programs collapse for lack of money.