« Could GOP Senator John Cornyn be the next big advocate for reducing federal prison terms? | Main | US Sentencing Commission releases more documents in its great new "Quick Facts" series »

September 12, 2013

California legislature quickly approves new plan to deal with prison overcrowding

The old saying is "Where there is a will, there is a way."  The proper saying in California concerning prison overcrowding might be "Where there is a prisoner-release federal court order, there becomes the will needed to find a way."  I say this based on this latest legislative news via the Los Angeles Times coming from the Golden State, headlined "Legislators give bill on prisons quick passage: Measure aimed at easing crowding by rehabilitating offenders goes to the governor."  Here are excerpts:

A plan to ease prison crowding is on its way to Gov. Jerry Brown after winning swift approval Wednesday from both houses of the Legislature. The fast-tracked bill, announced Monday, addresses a federal court order requiring the state to shrink its prison population by about 9,600 inmates by the end of the year.

Lawmakers also completed work on measures that would further restrict firearms, increase penalties for sex offenders who remove their GPS monitoring devices and relax rules on billboard advertising.

Under the prison deal, brokered by the governor and legislative leaders, the state will seek extra time to comply with the court. If an extension is granted, officials will use it to expand rehabilitation programs aimed at keeping offenders from returning to prison after they have served their time.

If judges reject the request, the state will relocate thousands of inmates to privately owned prisons and other detention facilities. Moving the prisoners would cost $315 million in the current fiscal year and is projected to cost $415 million in each of the two subsequent years.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), who initially had clashed with Brown and Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) over how to meet the court's demand, called passage of the bill a "pivotal moment," potentially shifting California's efforts toward a long-term solution to prison overcrowding.

Senate minority leader Robert Huff (R-Diamond Bar) said the proposal was needed to avoid the possible release of inmates before their sentences were up. "It gives us certainty that there is no early release," Huff told his colleagues.

Some Democrats pushed back on the price tag for housing in the bill, SB 105, by Steinberg and Huff. One of those Democrats, Sen. Noreen Evans of Santa Rosa, said during the debate that after years of state belt-tightening, "I simply cannot in good conscience give a $315 million blank check to the director of our corrections system. "I don't believe it is fiscally responsible," Evans said. "It will not provide the reforms that we want."

If the state does not relocate prisoners, at least $75 million of that money will go to rehabilitation programs such as drug treatment and mental health services. The rest of the $315 million will be divided between rehab programs and the state's general fund....

On another law-enforcement issue, legislators approved a measure, spurred by reports in The Times, about a growing number of sex offenders cutting off the electronic monitoring devices the law requires them to wear. Those who do so would face a mandatory 180 days in jail under SB 57 by Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance), which went to Brown. Many such offenders get little or no time behind bars now.

September 12, 2013 at 11:28 AM | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451574769e2019aff57bbec970b

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference California legislature quickly approves new plan to deal with prison overcrowding:

Comments

God these govt fucktards just don't learn!

"Under the prison deal, brokered by the governor and legislative leaders, the state will seek extra time to comply with the court. If an extension is granted, officials will use it to expand rehabilitation programs aimed at keeping offenders from returning to prison after they have served their time. "

The United States Supreme Court has done said DO IT! There is no court above it. Sounds like it's time to send in the marines into sacramento and seize control!

Posted by: rodsmith | Sep 12, 2013 11:15:33 PM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB