Judges following voters on sentencing | TheUnion.com

Judges following voters on sentencing

The community is outraged by Drew Reynolds’ death. Some are pointing fingers at the criminal justice system.

Yes, Mr. Krause had a record. His most recent conviction was for possession of methamphetamine. For that offense, he was recently placed on probation and ordered to participate in drug treatment.

Why wasn’t he put in jail for his second drug offense? Proposition 36, passed in November 2000 by 60.8 percent of the voters statewide and 58 percent of voters in Nevada County, would not allow it. The judge was just following a law most people voted for.

Most people voted for this proposition because they wanted an emphasis on treatment and not punishment. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in 2002 the estimated number of persons in America aged 12 or older needing treatment for an illicit drug problem was 7.7 million (3.3 percent of the total population).

Of these, only 18.2 percent had received treatment in the previous 12 months. Of the people receiving treatment, about 64 percent paid for it with their own money or through private health insurance. Taxpayers picked up the tab for the other 37 percent.

Our methamphetamine problem is something we all pay for with lives, property and money.

Michael Ferguson

District Attorney

County of Nevada

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