A recent survey shows that 70 percent of Californians support a measure being considered by lawmakers to reduce personal possession of small amounts of heroin, cocaine or methamphetamine to a misdemeanor offense. The survey was conducted earlier this month by supporters of the measure.

The survey also revealed that a whopping 87 percent of Californians support allowing alleged offenders to avoid being sent to jail for a drug possession conviction if the defendant completes a drug treatment program, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.

The survey was conducted earlier this month by California Tulchin Research, and funded by several groups that support SB 1506. That measure proposes to reduce possession of drugs for personal use from a felony offense to a misdemeanor, with the exposure to jail time limited to not more than one-year.

The survey shows that 43 percent of Californians have “strong support” for the proposal, while another 27 percent “somewhat support” the bill. A majority of the survey participants say that the jails and prisons across California are overcrowded and the proposal to reduce exposure to time behind bars for mere possessory drug crimes may be a valid solution to overcrowding.

The measure would not impact allegations involving drug possession for sales crimes. The bill proposing to reduce drug possession crimes is one of three notable criminal law bills that are under consideration before the June 1 deadline.

An Assembly bill proposes to make it easier for former California prisoners to have their criminal record expunged. A second Assembly bill is aimed at making it easier for people to get a state job with a criminal record. That proposal would eliminate the felony conviction question box from job applications for public sector positions in California.

Sources:

Los Angeles Times, “California voters support reduced drug possession penalties, survey says,” Patrick McGreevy, May 23, 2012

Associated Press via San Jose Mercury News, “Bills seek to assist ex-felons seeking jobs, Hannah Dreier and Don Thompson, May 20, 2012