Press Release  | 05/04/2004

D.C. Treatment Instead of Incarceration Initiative (Measure 62) Has its Day in Court Thursday May 6

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Mayor Williams Urged to Drop Anti-Measure 62 Lawsuit and Back Voters

Opening arguments will be heard this Thursday in the District Court of Appeals on Measure 62, the Washington, D.C. Treatment Not Incarceration ballot measure. Measure 62 would provide substance abuse treatment instead of incarceration for eligible non-violent defendants convicted of illegal possession or use of some drugs.

When it was on the November 2002 D.C. ballot, Measure 62 was supported by an overwhelming 78% of voters in Washington, DC. But instead of getting funded, the Measure has been stalled in court since then, because Mayor Anthony Williams challenged it. He argued that the Measure violates local law by allocating funds to support drug treatment. Under DC law, local initiatives are not permitted to allocate funds, but proponents argue that Measure 62 is clear about not appropriating money.

The Drug Policy Alliance is organizing a press conference and rally with a coalition of formerly incarcerated people, treatment providers, people in recovery, community activists, and District officials in support of the measure. "Many states around the country are moving towards treatment instead of incarceration as a way to save money and lives," said the Drug Policy Alliance's Bill Piper, Chairman of the DC Campaign for Treatment. "D.C. voters have overwhelmingly voted for this, and we hope the mayor will drop his lawsuit and stand with us instead of against us."

What: Press conference and rally in support of Washington D.C. Measure 62

When: Thursday May 6th, from 9 AM to 9:30 AM

Where: DC Superior Courthouse, 500 Indiana Avenue, NW (Next to the Judiciary Square Metro)

Who:

Bill Piper, Drug Policy Alliance
Carmelita Witherspoon, Center for Aging Services, "Mother of Recovery"
Scarlett Swerdlow, SSDP National Director
William Chisom, Treatment Provider

Naomi Long at (202) 669-6071 or Tony Newman at (212) 613-8026

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