These Are Your Offenders On Drugs. Any Questions?

The California Research Policy Center has just published the executive summary of a study of drug testing in three California probation departments. (Full text should be available in a week or so.) If you find it depressing reading, I can assure you that writing it was even worse.

Most probationers weren’t being drug-tested at all, and about a third of those called for testing either failed to show up at all or tested “dirty” for one or more drugs, partly because the system was not set up to deliver predictable consequences for breaking the rules. The only bright side of the picture is that Propostion 36 (California’s treatment-not-prison-for-drug-offenders initiative) couldn’t really make things any worse; this is how things looked before the new law went in effect.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

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