Bill Signed to End Mandatory Minimum Jail Sentences for Non-Violent Drug Offenses in CA
Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday signed a bill authored by state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, that ends mandatory minimum jail sentences for non-violent drug offenses.
Wiener said Senate Bill 73 will help end mass incarceration and what he called the state’s war on drugs.
“Our prisons and jails are filled with people — particularly from communities of color — who have committed low-level, nonviolent drug offenses and who would be much better served by non-carceral options like probation, rehabilitation and treatment,” he said.
The legislation goes into effect Jan. 1.
The law will allow courts to grant probation or suspend sentences — a practice currently prohibited by state law — for people convicted of non-violent drug offenses and would impose state-mandated programs, according to an analysis by the state’s legislative’s counsel.
Once the new law is in effect, it will also give judges more sentencing options, Wiener said.
Co-authors of the legislation include Assemblymembers Wendy Carrillo, D-Los Angeles, Sydney Kamlager, D-Los Angeles, David Chiu, D-San Francisco, Buffy Wicks, D-Oakland and Sen. Steven Bradford, D-Los Angeles. It was sponsored by the Drug Policy Alliance.