The California state Senate approved a measure Thursday that may provide many people convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) an alternative to rotting in county jail. AB 2127 will allow local sheriffs to give custody credit to individuals who participate in vocational training, education, parenting classes, and substances abuse counseling. These options would supplement the existing option that sheriffs have of letting people out of jail for manual labor.
This law directly addresses the argument I have discussed in prior blog posts regarding treatment over jail for repeat DUI offenders. The fact that the "lock 'em up" advocates fail to grasp is everyone who is locked up will eventually be released to the public. If you lock up an alcoholic, you get an alcoholic back out. If you put an alcoholic in treatment, you have a chance of addressing the actual cause of the dangerous behavior.
Unfortunately, AB 2127 was introduced by Assemblyman Roger Hernandez, two days before he himself was arrested for DUI. Assemblyman Hernandez has pled not guilty, and is awaiting his trial. The bill was wisely amended to strike Assemblyman Hernandez' name off.
AB 2127 now must go back to the Assembly to approve Senate amendments. If passed in its final form, it will go to the Governor for his approval.
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