Nonviolent Offender Rehabilitation Act of 2008 Calls for Action By Rahimah Shah, Administrative Assistant & Editor
The Nonviolent Offender Rehabilitation Act of 2008 (NORA) is a California ballot initiative intended for the November 4, 2008 ballot that offers a common–sense solution to prison overcrowding. The Drug Policy Alliance Network (DPA) is an organization that implements drug polices using a public health approach. DPA would like to see changes in policies to do more good than harm and will continue gathering signatures until April of 2008.
A perfect example of how treatment can be provided to addicts is through Proposition 36, also known as the Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act. Since July 1, 2001 when it went into effect, this vote permanently changed state law to allow first and second-time nonviolent, simple drug possession offenders the opportunity to receive substance abuse treatment instead of incarceration. Even though Proposition 36 has substantial benefits for substance abuse treatment and reforms to the state's costly prison system; the Proposition is not large enough to encompass the several initiatives, laws and policies that define different populations and treatments. NORA is an effort to take the concept established by Proposition 36 and expand it to integrate all drug policies under one umbrella. NORA addresses access to additional treatment and rehabilitation throughout the criminal justice system. NORA’s major components are:
1) Treatment diversion programs for adults. NORA creates a unified system of care and provides $385 million per year to pay for drug treatment and related costs. Nonviolent drug offenders would be placed in one of three different levels of care and supervision,
based on their criminal history and drug problem severity. Participants who fail at the lower levels could be moved up to the more intensive levels, or could be jailed for noncompliance. Completing the prescribed course of treatment can lead...