Yes on 5 TV Spot Focuses on Treatment Success, Fiscal Savings

Press Release October 27, 2008
Media Contact

Margaret Dooley-Sammuli at (213) 291-4190 or Tommy McDonald at

SACRAMENTO — With the budget deficit worsening and prison overcrowding reaching crisis levels, voters are looking for an affordable and effective alternative. Proposition 5 builds on California’s proven treatment-instead-of-incarceration programs for nonviolent drug offenders. According to the nonpartisan legislative analyst, Prop. 5 will expand access to proven treatment programs and cut state costs.

The savings — in lives and taxpayer dollars — of California’s existing treatment programs is the theme of “Success Story”, a new TV spot released today by the Yes on 5 campaign and now airing statewide. The ad focuses on Proposition 36, the treatment-instead-of-incarceration program approved by voters in 2000, which has graduated 84,000 nonviolent drug offenders and cut state spending on incarceration by $2 billion.

The ad comes just days after the release of a new study on Proposition 36.

Al Senella, president of the California Association of Alcohol and Drug Program Executives, said “The proof is in the research: treatment works and it cuts costs. But Prop. 36 hasn’t been adequately funded. That means some people aren’t getting all the help they need and taxpayers aren’t seeing all the savings they should. Inadequate investment in treatment means higher costs later.”

Conducted by independent researchers at UCLA, the October 14 report found that Prop. 36 consistently serves 35,000 nonviolent drug offenders each year, saves $2 for every $1 spent, and that program completers have lower recidivism rates.

Tom Renfree, executive director of the County Alcohol and Drug Program Administrators Association of California, said “UCLA showed that the program needs individualized treatment, increased supervision and improved accountability. Prop. 5 delivers on all these recommendations. For those not satisfied with Prop. 36, Prop. 5 is the answer. It will improve outcomes and further cut costs.”

Margaret Dooley-Sammuli, deputy campaign manager of Yes on 5, said, “Prop. 36 has been a huge success. What all the research tells us is that treatment can be even more successful at cutting recidivism and prison spending. That’s why Prop. 5 is on the ballot.”

The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office found that Prop. 5 will lower incarceration costs by $1 billion each year and reduce prison-construction costs by $2.5 billion. This doesn’t include savings related to reduced crime, fewer social services costs (e.g. emergency room visits, welfare), and increased individual productivity.

For the ad:

For the report:

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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