Under the governor’s plan, the state would move some 12,000 inmates from overcrowded state prisons into private prisons and county jails. During a press conference in Sacramento on Tuesday, Brown portrayed the plan as necessary to ensure “public safety,” noting that it would allow California to meet the court requirements without releasing prisoners.
But critics say the cost of Brown's expansion is likely to sap much-needed funds from schools and social service agencies. They insist the state could release thousands of low-level prisoners without endangering the public.
“The governor’s proposal is a plan with no promise and no hope,” state Sen. Darrell Steinberg (D), the Senate president pro tem, said in a statement. “As the population of California grows, it's only a short matter of time until new prison cells overflow and the court demands mass releases again."
California's prison system is one of the largest and most crowded in the country. The governor’s plan, which still needs legislative approval, would create enough space to comply with a 2009 order by a panel of federal judges, who ruled that overcrowding was jeopardizing the health and safety of inmates. The order, which the U.S. Supreme Court this month refused to review, gives the state until Dec. 31 to reduce the population of its facilities by about 10,000 inmates.
In an unconventional move, private prisons targeted for the expansion would be staffed with state employees, an arrangement that would allow the governor and his allies in the legislature to avoid a politically risky confrontation with the state’s powerful prison guard union. MORE Video, California Prison System, California Prison Expansion, California Prison Guard Union Private Prisons, California Prison Overcrowding Private Prisons, California Prison Reform, California Private Prisons Overcrowding, Jerry Brown Prison Expansion, Jerry Brown Prison Guard Union, Jerry Brown Private Prisons, Politics News