Drug Diversion Programs in California

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California Drug Diversion Programs were designed to rectify imbalances with respect to drug crime punishment and rehabilitation. Facing over crowded and over burdened prisons and state budget shortfalls, the state adopted two programs, the PC 1000 Drug Diversion Program and the Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act of November 2000. (Proposition 36)These programs exist to provide drug offenders with rehabilitation options that do not involve incarceration.To qualify for a drug diversion program, the offender must meet several criteria:
He or she must have had no prior convictions for the alleged drug offense.
The offense committed must have not been violent.
The defendant cannot have been on a parole or probation. If the defendant had once been on a parole or probation and had that privilege revoked, he or she would cease to qualify for the drug diversion program.
The defendant must have had no felony convictions dating back five years prior to the alleged drug offense.
The defendant cannot have had taken a previous drug diversion program.
Data gathered by groups like the Division of Alcohol and Substance Abuse point out the many wide scale benefits of alternative treatment programs. On average, they cost far less than incarceration. They also seem to save money on state healthcare costs and general productivity. Successful graduates of these programs on average boast a lower recidivism rate (i.e. rate at which they commit future drug crimes). Finally, according to the data, drug diversion programs seem to boost safety within communities and reduce overall criminal activity.Researchers at the University of California Los Angeles have studied the impact of the Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act and have lauded the program for reaching and exceeding its goals-although they do say that it’s currently under funded. The PC 1000 program requires treatment for an extended time for its participants but also provides a diverse array of services, including therapy sessions, group meetings, twelve step programs and schooling and information on HIV AIDS, TB, and other pertinent drug related issues.

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