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3 Strikes and Drug-Related Crimes are Up for Debate in CA

California is notorious for its Three Strikes law, a piece of legislation designed to stop the repeat offenders from continually taking the time of the court by remanding every person with three convictions under their belt to life in prison. No exceptions. This means that all three offenses can be relatively mild and even nonviolent – and can include drug-related offenses like drug possession or selling small amounts of any illicit substance – and still result in a life term in prison.

Over the years, Californians realized that this wasn’t working. In the November 2012 election, they voted to remove the three strikes legislation. Without this law in place, what does the legal landscape look like for nonviolent offenders facing drug-related charges?

Drug Court

In many counties across the country, drug court is removing a large number of offenders from the criminal courts. The benefit? Rather than going to jail, these offenders have the option of choosing drug rehab. If their crimes are motivated by an ongoing addiction to drugs, then the hope is that getting them the treatment they need to address that addiction medically will help them to avoid ending up back in front of a judge again. Too often, addicts who end up in jail for petty theft, fraud, and other minor crimes end up repeating the behavior over and over if they don’t get treatment.

Violent vs. Nonviolent Offenses

The removal of a lifelong prison sentence will only occur for those offenders whose crimes were nonviolent. It did not remove the specter of a life in jail for everyone; it did, however, improve the outlook for addicts who take a little longer than others to get the addiction treatment they need to stop abusing drugs and committing crimes. Under the old law, an addict could steal a piece of pizza, forge a prescription, and get caught with a joint in their pocket in three separate incidents and end up facing a lifetime behind bars. Now, the punishment will better fit the crime and the hope is that if addiction is the driving force behind these behaviors then the offender will be remanded to treatment where they can get the help they need to better their lives and improve their future propositions.

If someone you love in California is living with an active addiction, intensive drug addiction treatment far from the temptations and stressors at home can be exactly what they need to get back on track. Contact us today at The Orchid to learn more about the options we offer in rehabilitative treatment and care.

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