Point of View: Homelessness explodes since Prop 47 was passed in 2014

On Sunday night, FOX 11’s Bill Melugin did a fascinating story about how the meth epidemic is gripping the homeless community on the streets of Los Angeles. The Mexican drug cartel CJNG is smuggling in huge supplies of meth, because the demand is so high. The interesting reason the cartel’s business is flourishing, and homelessness is increasing, is due in large part to California’s Prop 47.

Bill Bodner, the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA in Los Angeles, told FOX 11 he believes Prop 47 is enabling this addiction cycle because it changed drug possession from a felony to a misdemeanor.

Related: METH MAYHEM: LA's homeless meth addiction epidemic fueled by CJNG drug cartel, enabled by Prop 47, DEA says

“There’s no reason to be afraid for (sic) shooting up in public, there’s no motivation to go to treatment. They used to be given a choice; do you want to go to jail, do you want to get a felony conviction, or do you go to treatment? There’s no hammer now. Now they get a ticket, they tear it up, they walk away, and they’re using drugs the same day, again, so it has not worked.”

We’re all asking ourselves, “Why has homelessness and drug addiction exploded recently? What has changed?” Well, Prop 47 was sold to voters under the shamefully misleading name “Safe Schools and Neighborhoods Act” in late 2014. While it did make good on its pledge to reduce prison and jail populations by thousands of inmates, it left thousands of people on the streets who were not arrested for felony drug use.

Since then homelessness has surged, drug addiction has soared, and type 2 crime to support drug use has skyrocketed. One of Prop 47’s authors George Gascon is running for LA District Attorney, so naturally he’s doubling down on his support of this failed proposition because this is his legacy.

At the very least, police must be given back the authority to arrest drug addicts and give them a choice of prison or treatment. Prop 47 currently prohibits that choice. If Mr. Gascon can defend that we’ll give him the platform to do so!

We’d love to hear your thoughts on Prop 47. Call us at 310-584-2030 or email at FOX11POV@foxtv.com and let us know.

I’m Bill Lamb, and that’s my Point of View.