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August 28, 2013

California Gov Brown finding monies for prisons seeking to avoid court-ordered prisoner release

0526-usa-jerrybrown_full_600As reported in this new Los Angeles Times article, California Governor Jerry Brown is now finally taking major new steps to deal with enduring prison crowding issues in his state.   The piece is headlined, "Jerry Brown has plan to ease prison crowding without early releases; To comply with judges' order, Jerry Brown proposes to spend from state's reserve to house excess prisoners in alternate facilities." Here are excerpts:

Gov. Jerry Brown and top lawmakers pledged Tuesday to ease prison crowding without releasing inmates early, laying out a plan to spend hundreds of millions of dollars for alternate housing.

The proposal, which has divided Democratic leaders, would pay for enough beds in privately owned prisons and other facilities to shed more than 9,600 inmates from state lockups by the end of the year, as federal judges have ordered. "This is the sensible, prudent way to proceed," Brown said at a Capitol news conference. "The plan is to find as many cells as needed."

Paying for the extra housing would drain $315 million from the state's $1.1-billion reserve over the next year. The price tag is expected to increase to $415 million for each of the following two years.

The proposal would avoid inmate releases while Brown continues fighting the order to reduce the population in state prisons, which the judges say are unconstitutionally crowded. Plans his administration previously considered could have forced the state to free about 1,000 inmates before their sentences were finished....

Brown faces an array of political challenges in pushing his plan through the Legislature, notably opposition from Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento). Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) and Republican leaders in both houses flanked Brown for his announcement, but Steinberg was absent, saying later that he would issue his own prison plan Wednesday.

"The governor's proposal is a plan with no promise and no hope," Steinberg said in a statement. "As the population of California grows, it's only a short matter of time until new prison cells overflow." The Senate leader has called for more spending on mental health and drug treatment programs that can reduce the number of ex-offenders who return to prison, helping to lower the inmate population in the long run.

Brown and Pérez said they also would consider more long-term solutions to prison crowding, such as changes in sentencing laws. Meanwhile, the funding for alternative cells is needed, they said. "We are not going to release a single additional prisoner," Pérez said.

The proposal announced Tuesday would move thousands of offenders from state facilities to privately owned prisons in and outside of California and reopen city-owned detention facilities in Shafter and Taft, in the Central Valley. More inmates could be placed in county jails.

Law enforcement groups representing district attorneys, police chiefs, county sheriffs and others are backing the plan. "The efforts by the governor will help protect our communities," said Nevada County Sheriff Keith Royal.

More key support comes from the politically powerful prison guard union, which has strongly opposed outsourcing of inmate housing. But Brown's plan would use state guards in a privately owned prison in Kern County....

[O]n Tuesday, top Republican lawmakers said the governor was taking the right steps. "Our No. 1 responsibility is public safety," said Senate Republican leader Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar). "We can't allow dangerous inmates on our streets."

Lawmakers have less than three weeks to consider Brown's proposal before they adjourn. The Assembly budget committee is scheduled to convene Thursday to begin discussions. Brown's effort to comply with the court order has short-circuited some of his previous plans to lower prison spending and end contracts to house inmates out of state. If the Legislature approves his proposal, prison spending will outpace state funding for higher education in the current fiscal year.

Don Specter, a lawyer for inmates who have sued the state over prison conditions, said leasing more prison space would be "an incredible waste of hundreds of millions of dollars for no benefit to public safety." He said the state should consider some early releases, by expanding the credit prisoners can earn for good behavior or freeing inmates who are elderly and sick.

August 28, 2013 at 09:30 AM | Permalink

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Comments

I guess if the governor and his rich associates want to pay for it with EXCLUSIVELY their own wallets, and not bill the tax payer, I supposed that's their business. But we tax-payers are struggling just to make ends meet; and some of us, despite our hard work, are failing to achieve even that!

Posted by: william r. delzell | Aug 28, 2013 9:34:26 AM

Its very important to keep everyone in prison every day that they were sentneced.. That way it keeps us safer... After all, its not like they really are ever going to let them out anyway....

Sometimes I actually think thats what is going thru their minds...So if someone did 7 of a 10 yr sentence and was getting out in 9 months, actually how are we any safer keeping them for the extra 9 months.

We definitely are not....There are some that are definitely nasty and don't learn... What is the Goal, is the big question..

If its to satisfy the letter of the law, then we have lost it..

Posted by: MidWest Guy | Aug 28, 2013 10:47:41 AM

I think that they should release low level inmates that would be getting out soon anyways (less than a year to serve) for example my boyfriend who is in Centinela has 6 months left and when he went into prison he had already went through drug and alcohol rehab and had 7 months clean a and was a productive member of society with a Job and apartment. Prison has made him regress exponentially! It's sad to see honestly that their system is so messed up... He has no programs offered to him to continue his sobriety in prison, they need to release inmates to programs not to the streets, maybe they wouldn't re offend and keep the population growing.

Posted by: Brigitte | Aug 28, 2013 2:34:18 PM

This is the most short-sighted, non-enlightened, non-progressive I've seen from this governor. He doesn't make anyone happy. He was supposed to deal with the public employee pension issue. His plan was insufficient. Now, he wants to appear to be tough on crime because he thinks it will help his reelection chances. He's not being a very good governor.

Posted by: Liz McD | Aug 29, 2013 12:09:12 AM

Looking into what is being justified with the criminal division,if what each and everyone of you could of or would of used for re-generating more prisons.The crime level could go down if all would stop trying to handle situations on their own and use others opinion to help assist each other with terms and technologies dealing with criminal activities. Releasing non-violent offenders with strict guide lines at hand could better address issues at hand. Stop quickly coming up with ideas of your very own opinion and learn to use your co-workers and citizens opinions as well. I have darn good ideas to aiding with criminal activities.

Posted by: CRYSTAL | Aug 29, 2013 12:04:58 PM

I am the fiance of someone who's serving a 20 year sentence on a non-violent crime which is a drug offense.

Posted by: CRYSTAL | Aug 29, 2013 12:07:32 PM

Arnold The Terminator Mentors CA Governor Jerry Brown on State Prison Torture & Girly Men!

California lawmakers Plead with President Obama Not To Attack Syria Until They Send the States Tortured Prison inmates There 4 a little Rendition R&R ..

Have to wonder what is going through California Governor Jerry Brown’s mind knowing CA voters elected him to represent his State in a fashion that brings Inter+national acclaim,not horrified cries from tortured prison inmates !

We understand Jerry Brown the man does not condone CA prison torture,but everyone knows only Girly Men think isolation for years in California prison’s amounts to torture.

Should all American’s need to pray that California sends tortured isolated prison inmates to Syria’s Bashar Assad for rendition so they can live?

We remember well the innocent $3 million richer Canadian citizen who requested his rendition to Syria from Canada via Uncle Sam !

We support Jerry Brown and hope he decides to now focus his keen mind on CA tortured prison residents plight being isolated in his States Penal System..

** When everything goes well in California,Governor Jerry Brown deserves and should receive the citizens praise & appreciation! Likewise when California Prison injustices continue to bring the State of California Inter+National negative attention,the buck again stops on Governor Jerry Brown’s Desk..

Posted by: Hillary's Agenda | Sep 2, 2013 11:23:33 AM

The last thing we need is our money being used for PRISONS mental health ,schools healthcare Rehab centers .This will NOT SOLVE ANYTHING I have LOST all respect for Brown has he even personally visted any of the prisons .The public is NOT stupid we know hard criminals these are low level addicts that need rehabilitation services instead of prison time. if we are going into the state reserve I would personally rather vote on how our money will be used.Instead of brown and his personal agendas .

Posted by: Rhonda Leath | Sep 2, 2013 1:19:29 PM

I have a loved one who now is elderly and has major health issues. He has done 10 years past his time(27 years), total of 36 years, and it is now time for him to be released. Gov. Brown is just trying to look tough on crime, mean-while our loved ones suffer. Why did he say he was going to release these men and then said no. Do you know how this makes us feel? He doesn't even care. But, I bet if he had a loved one locked up in a tiny cell with another cellmate you betcha he would change things. He's a joke and I am so sorry I voted for him. He keeps flip flopping.

Posted by: B | Sep 22, 2013 1:49:47 PM

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