Newsbrief: Whites Benefit from California's Proposition 36 Disproportionately, UCLA Study Finds 7/18/03

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In a study released on July 7, researchers at the UCLA Integrated Substance Abuse Program reviewing the first year of implementation of California's pioneering "treatment not jail" law surprisingly found that whites made up half of those referred under the measure designed to divert nonviolent drug offenders from prison into drug treatment. Whites make up only 30% of all California drug offenders.

While the study's authors did not seek to explain the anomaly, interested reformers offered some tentative opinions to the Los Angeles Times. Admitting that the fact that whites seemed to be benefiting more from the law was a concern, Whitney Taylor, former director of Proposition 36 implementation for the Drug Policy Alliance, suggested that it resulted from differential policing. A heavier police presence in black and Latino neighborhoods probably means higher arrest and conviction rates and thus more members of those communities becoming ineligible to participate. "I don't think it's a problem with the proposition," she said, "I think it's a problem for the criminal justice system."

Dan MacAllair, executive director of the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, speculated that whites could have access to better legal representation. "There are questions that need to be answered," he said. "I would want to look at arrest and charging patterns. Is it an economic crime in certain communities as opposed to a user crime in white communities? We need to be collecting the data."

In other findings, the UCLA researchers noted that methamphetamine users made up 50% of those diverted to treatment, cocaine users came in at 15%, and heroin users at 11%. Strangely enough, persons arrested for marijuana crimes constituted 12% of all diversions.

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Issue #296, 7/18/03 Editorial: Tragic Confusion | Medical Marijuana Eroding Capitol Hill Prohibition Consensus -- Democrats Also On Attack against Drug Czar, Drug War in General | With Hip-Hopper's Support, NY Governor Tries Again on Rockefeller Law Reform -- Not Good Enough, Say Critics | Bush, Ashcroft Ask Supreme Court for Permission to Punish Doctors Who Recommend Medical Marijuana | DRCNet Book Review: "Bad Neighbor Policy: Washington's Futile War on Drugs in Latin America," by Ted Galen Carpenter (2003, Palgrave Macmillan, $24.95) | Newsbrief: North Carolina Prosecutor Charges Methamphetamine Cook with Terrorist Offense | Newsbrief: Whites Benefit from California's Proposition 36 Disproportionately, UCLA Study Finds | Newsbrief: No Needle Exchange in Delaware -- Lack of Political Support Cited | Newsbrief: Colombian Supreme Court Blocks President's Effort to Recriminalize Drug Possession | Newsbrief: Brazil to Cooperate in Andean Drug Plane Shoot-Down Strategy | Newsbrief: Peru to Modify Drug Penalties -- One Step Forward, One Step Back, Some Standing in Place | Newsbrief: Legalize It, Says Canada's National Post | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cop Story | Web Scan: CEDRO, Foreign Policy, Reason, Nation, Working for Change, Washington Post, Molly Ivins,, UN Report, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sentencing Project | The Reformer's Calendar

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