A recent Fox 11 special investigation into Los Angeles' homeless meth addiction epidemic has put the blame squarely on Proposition 47.
Well, Prop 47's passage meant that nonviolent offenses, like drug and property crimes were reclassified as misdemeanors and as a result, the inmate population would see a reduction, saving the state a ton of money. The money saved would be earmarked for:
- school truancy and dropout prevention
- victim services
- mental health treatment
- drug abuse treatment
- other programs designed to keep offenders out of jail
In the Fox 11 investigation, which you can watch above, Bill Bodner, the head of the DEA in Los Angeles, says that Prop 47 has enabled drug addicts in the Los Angeles homeless community. Bodner says:
"There's no reason to be afraid for shooting up in public, there's no motivation to go to treatment. They used to be given a choice, do you want to go to jail, do you want a felony conviction, or do you want treatment? There's no hammer now, now they get a ticket, they tear it up, throw it away, they're using drugs the same day, so it has not worked."
Captain Scott Harrelson, commanding officer at LAPD's Central Division told Fox 11:
"Since it has been relegated now down to a misdemeanor, there is more of a revolving door, we don't have the ability to have people go into treatment facilities like we had before, so it's had some effect on street level use."
Fox 11's Bill Melugin spoke to Mayor Garcetti who says he agrees with both men and explained that this is part of the reason that he didn't endorse Prop 47:
"If there's no consequence at all, if people can't be diverted into treatment, you see the results on the streets of LA."
Garcetti says Los Angeles hasn't seen ANY of the money that Prop 47 promised to give back to communities, saying:
"I've been calling for 3 years for Sacramento to deliver that money, we haven't seen these dollars, we need to have those dollars that were promised from Sacramento under Prop 47 come to local programs that catch people the moment we find them on the streets, the moment they come out of jail, and I do believe that we need some consequences so people do have the threat of some jail time."
Watch Bill Melugin's interview with Mayor Garcetti below.