- In an op-ed piece marking the 40th anniversary of President Nixon's speech promising "a new, all-out offensive" against drug abuse, Former President Jimmy Carter called for an end to the drug war. Others, including Congressman Steve Cohen, used the occasion to explore causes for hope in the current atmosphere, amid the problems spawned by the "war on drugs" approach.
- California legislators passed a budget this week that did not include the tax extensions to fund Governor Jerry Brown's plan to comply with the Supreme Court ruling to reduce the state's prison population; the governor then vetoed the budget and vowed to try again on the tax extensions.
- Meanwhile, a new poll finds that and nearly three out of four Californians say it is time to revamp the state's "three-strikes" law, which requires a 25 year-to-life sentence upon a third felony conviction.
- With special funding from the Obama administration running out at the end of June, Medicaid will have to cut benefits for millions of people, even as unemployment has increased.
- The Supreme Court ruled this week that judges cannot impose or lengthen prison terms to promote a defendant’s rehabilitation.
- The New York Times took an in-depth look at the January killing of a mental health counselor at a group home in Massachusetts, which raised questions about whether the state's belt-tightening had played a role.
- After a setback from Hurricane Katrina, a mental health court in New Orleans has recently restarted with the help of a $100,000 federal grant. The program provides a combination of resources -- housing, transportation, health care, treatment, counseling -- to mentally ill, nonviolent probationers as an alternative to incarceration.