LOS ANGELES-The NAACP and the ACLU have co-sponsored a bill, SB 1506, with California State Senator, Mark Leno that would turn drug possession from a felony to a simple misdemeanor.
Leno claims that the bill would help to decrease California’s overcrowded prisons and allow people to receive treatment for addiction while keeping job prospects.
The L.A. Times reports:
“There is no evidence to suggest that long prison sentences deter or limit people from abusing drugs,” Leno said. “In fact, time behind bars and felony records often have horrible unintended consequences for people trying to overcome addiction because they are unlikely to receive drug treatment in prison and have few job prospects and educational opportunities when they leave.”
But others said the proposal will save taxpayers millions of dollars. “By changing this offense from a felony to misdemeanor, we can still hold individuals accountable for their actions while taking a huge burden off of county jails and protecting access to drug treatment,’’ said Margaret Dooley-Sammuli, senior policy advocate with the ACLU of California.