Drug Reform and Prosecution: Prop 36

K. Jack Riley, RAND
Nell Forge, RAND

Under drug policy initiatives passed in Arizona (Prop 200) and California (Prop 36), drug offenders who mneet the relevant eligibility criteria can be placed in community supervision with treatment instead of either supervision without treatment or incarceration. Observers in both states predicted that passage of the initiatives might influence the charging practices of prosecutors. For example, prosecutors might become less willing to drop secondary charges that would render a defendant ineligible for community supervision/treatment or less willing to accept pleas under which a defendant is eligible for community supervision/treatment. In this paper, the authors will report findings from analyses of case processing before and and after passage of these initiatives and interviews with prosecutors in selected Arizona dn California counties. The purpose of the analyses is to determine whether any apparent discontinuity between pre- and post-initiative charging practices is related to prosecutors' exercise of discretion in such practices.

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Updated 05/20/2006