Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Law Professor states "Prop 5 is no boon to violent offenders."

Senator Feinstein, have you read Alex Kreit's informed analysis of the lies you're spreading about Prop 5?

Misleading claim: Proposition 5 gives criminals a "get out of jail free" card.

This is political messaging, not accurate analysis. According to the California Legislative Analyst's Office, Proposition 5 would expand existing programs that offer treatment in lieu of incarceration, making probation-supervised treatment an option for tens of thousands of nonviolent drug offenders each year. These treatment programs include a system of graduated sanctions designed to ensure that defendants who have the potential to succeed remain in treatment and punish those who fail to meet the requirements. Similar criminal justice-treatment partnerships exist now and are widely recognized as a viable and cost-effective alternative to incarceration. Proposition 5 simply expands these successful programs.

Misleading claim: Proposition 5 would allow violent criminals to escape prison terms and receive treatment instead.

Any offense involving any form of violence, threat of violence or harm to another -- or any offense dubbed serious under the "three strikes" law -- would be disqualified from eligibility under Proposition 5. This would include burglary and arson, for example -- two offenses often listed by opponents.

Misleading claim: Judges would be unable to jail someone.

This is false. Only nonviolent drug offenders with suitably minor criminal histories would be diverted to probation-supervised treatment. Other nonviolent offenders would be diverted only at the judge's discretion. If offenders violate probation, judges could temporarily remove program participants and jail them -- or terminate offenders from the programs entirely.

So should I believe you or the assistant professor and director of the Center for Law and Social Justice at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law?

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