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The San Francisco Substance Abuse
Crime Prevention Act (SACPA)

What is SACPA?


Community Behavioral Health Services (CBHS), Community Programs - Placement Division


On November 7, 2000, voters statewide approved California Proposition 36, which then became the Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act of 2000. The Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act of 2000 requires probation and drug treatment, in lieu of incarceration, for conviction of possession, use, transportation for personal use, or being under the influence of a controlled substance, and related parole violations. The Act went into effect across the state July 1, 2001.

San Francisco leads the nation in addressing substance abuse as a public health issue. We are committed and well equipped to implement the Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act of 2000.


San Francisco engaged in an extensive collaborative and community-based planning process to develop this County Plan for implementation of the Act. The planning process involved representatives from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, City and County agencies, Probation, Parole, the community, the Treatment on Demand Council, advocacy groups, substance abuse treatment providers and the faith community. For more detail on the planning process, please refer below.

The plan was approved by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and submitted to the State Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs on May 29,2001.


Who is eligible?


The Substance Abuse Crime Prevention Act (SACPA) generally applies to three classes of people: 1) those with new convictions for drug possession or being under-the-influence, 2) persons on probation for drug possession or under-the-influence offenses, 3) persons on parole with no prior convictions for a serious or violent felony.


New convictions:

People with new convictions for drug offenses qualify for treatment provided they are not convicted of sale, manufacture, or any non-drug crimes at the same time.


Non-violent parole violators:

After July1, 2001, a person on parole who commits a non-violent drug possession offense or who violates a drug-related condition of parole may be eligible for a treatment regimen in the community, instead of returning to prison. To qualify, the parolee must have no prior convictions for a serious or violent felony; Parole authorities, rather than the courts, will set monitoring conditions for these parole violators and will punish violations of the treatment program.



A person who commits an offense that would otherwise qualify for sentencing under the Act is ineligible for treatment if:

  • They have completed serving a sentence for a felony (unless that offense is a non-violent drug related felony) or a misdemeanor involving physical injury or the threat of physical injury within the past five years.
  • They have been convicted of a misdemeanor not related to the use of drugs, or any felony in addition to the non-violent drug possession charge.
  • The current offense involved the use of a firearm, in addition to non-violent drug possession.
  • They have already been convicted twice of a non-violent drug possession offense, have received two separate courses of treatment under Prop 36, and have been found by clear and convincing evidence to be unamenable to any and all form of treatment [1210.1(b)].

How does it work?


Eligibility for treatment provision under the Act begins upon conviction, not at the point of arrest or charging. This is a post-conviction statute. Conviction can occur anytime between arraignment and post-trial. If a plea bargain is entered and results in conviction, the terms of that plea bargain may be considered at sentencing.

After an individual has been convicted or entered, a guilty plea a Prop 36 placement specialist will assess the client within 72 hours.


Types of Treatment


San Francisco already has in existence an extensive system of treatment programs. A comprehensive array of substance abuse services will be offered to clients under the provision of the Act and will include the following:

Basic Drug Abuse Education Intensive outpatient and day treatment
Mentoring, and Alternative Life Skills Training
Outpatient Services
Residential treatment
Methadone Maintenance

The full menu of substance abuse treatment services provides for a number of cultural
competencies and other characteristics, including services for:

Racial/ethnic minorities
Limited English speaking/monolingual clients
Gay, lesbian, bisexual & transgender individuals
Military veterans
Parents and other caregivers with children
People with disabilities
Homeless and those at risk of homelessness

Assessment and Referral


Assessment is a clinical process (sometimes ongoing) to determine the severity level of
substance use and the major co-existing disorders that may frame and/or complicate the substance abuse issue. The Treatment Access Program (TAP), a unit of the Community Behavioral Health Services, Community Placement Division, will administer the majority of assessments. Assessments will not be re-done on the same client by different assessors. Whenever possible, TAP will accept assessments conducted within 6 months, administered by Drug Court or other sources using a similar standardized assessment instrument.


The Addiction Severity Index (ASI) is used as the core assessment instrument. It has been modified as necessary to ensure an efficient and effective assessment process. TAP is prepared to do mobile assessments in order to ensure client’s participation in Prop 36. TAP has the responsibility to obtain and maintain up-to-date assessments.


In general, the criteria for placement decisions flow from the severity of the drug and/or alcohol problem identified during the assessment. Regardless of where the initial assessment takes place, once the client is sentenced and is deemed eligible for treatment resources under the Act – the placement will be authorized and coordinated by TAP.


Within 30 days of receiving notification, the community treatment provider will prepare a treatment plan and forward it to TAP. TAP will then provide Probation/Parole with the treatment plan.


Monitoring and Reporting


The monitoring protocol between TAP and Probation/Parole will ensure that clients receive the most appropriate treatment services and that treatment providers comply with the requirements set forth under the Act.

TAP will assume primary responsibility for tracking the treatment progress of clients and reporting quarterly to Probation/Parole. Reports will provide an update of the client’s status in treatment. Reporting protocols between TAP and Parole are in the process of being determined. A protocol between TAP and Probation will be as follows:

  • After Court ordered conditions of probation are received, Probation will refer the client, arrange the intake appointment with TAP, and fax to TAP a copy of the Court Order (which includes the non-drug related terms of probation).
  • Probation will be notified of those clients who do not report for their assessment within 30 days of this declaration.
  • While TAP and treatment providers will play a primary role in monitoring (assessment, placement and oversight) and determining a client’s success in treatment, TAP, alone, will report to Probation and Parole.
  • Within permissible limits of the release of information agreement to be determined and in accordance with the Act, all contracted treatment providers will make regular reports to TAP.

Closing Protocols

  • Closing protocols refer to client’s “successful completion of treatment” or determination of “unamenable to treatment.”
  • Upon a client’s successful completion of their treatment plan, TAP will be responsible for verifying and preparing a report of compliance.
  • TAP will report treatment compliance to Probation, Parole, District Attorney, and the client’s defense counsel. A copy of TAP’s report of compliance will also be provided to the client. (Refer to section on “Dismissal of Charges” for further information).
  • Upon the determination of TAP that a client is “unamenable to treatment,” TAP will formally turn the case back over to Probation/Parole.
    • In some instances the Probation/Parole will redirect the client back to TAP after first revocation hearing, unless the client is found to present a danger to others, or at the second revocation hearing, if the client is found either to be a danger to others or unamenable to treatment. Upon such a re-referral from Probation/Parole TAP will reopen the case, conduct a re-assessment and place the client in the most appropriate drug treatment program.
      Unamenability implies unwillingness to all forms of available treatment. A person should have had the opportunity of treatment before they are found unamenable.

If you have any additional questions regarding these services and the eligibility status of you, a friend, or a family member seeking services, please call us at 1.800.750.2727, 1.888.246.3333, or 415.255.3737, and you can email us at the email address below. We will do our best to respond to you within three working days of receiving the email.