DC Voters Fight to Keep
Popular Measure Would Save Money, Reduce Crime
Washington DC-- Supporters of Measure 62, the "treatment instead of jail" initiative which received 78% of the vote in the November election, filed a Motion to Appeal on Wednesday, May 21, 2003 with DC Court of Appeals. In February, District of Columbia Superior Court Judge Jeanette Clark had ruled that the measure was not a proper subject for an initiative on the technical grounds that it required the District to allocate funds. In response, a Motion to Reconsider was filed in February requesting Judge Clark to alter or amend her judgment. This motion was denied and, yesterday, lawyers for the Measure filed an appeal to a higher court.
"We still believe that the city has a chance to make a difference in the District's addiction and incarceration crisis. Seventy-eight percent of the voters want this measure implemented, "said William McColl, President of the D.C. Campaign for Treatment, which sponsored the measure. "We are heading back to court to keep faith with our supporters, and to ensure that the will of the voters is not overturned," he added.
If implemented, Measure 62 would require judges to allow eligible, non-violent drug defendants to be placed in treatment for 12 months, instead of incarceration. Other treatment instead of jail measures have passed in California and Arizona and are being successfully implemented, saving taxpayers millions of dollars and significantly decreasing the states' prison populations.
"Other states are beginning to look at alternatives to incarceration because it saves families, lives and money," said Opio L. Sokoni, Measure 62 Implementation Coordinator. "The voters of Measure 62 are right on the money," he added.