Gov. Gavin Newsom on Oct. 5 signed a bill that ends mandatory minimum jail sentences for nonviolent drug offenses.
Senate Bill 73, which is authored by state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, will help end mass incarceration and what Wiener called the state's war on drugs, he said in a joint statement released by the Governor's office.
"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 nonviolent 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 Assembly members 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. The bill was sponsored by the Drug Policy Alliance.