Thursday, March 8, 2007
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has toured jail and prison facilities this week to view overcrowding and next week he'll meet with lawmakers. A deadline set by federal judges is approaching. They're demanding a plan to deal with the problem. From Sacramento, Jenny O'Mara reports.
Federal judges involved in two cases with the state have said they want a progress report in June on lawmakers' plan to fix the overcrowding problem. If they're not satisfied they could cap the numbers of prisoners in state facilities, leading to early releases. At the San Joaquin county jail, Governor Schwarzenegger said he'll meet with lawmakers on Monday. He said the judges' deadline is a good thing:
Schwarzenegger : I like the idea of having the court kind of put the pressure on us because then it happens much faster, action will be created much faster.
Lawmakers have drawn lines around the issue. Democrats say they want sentencing practices reviewed. Republicans say that's code for early release; they want to build more prisons. Schwarzenegger has proposed adding onto existing prisons and sending some inmates out of state -- which is in limbo in the courts. There are currently 171,000 prisoners in space designed for 100,000. Jenny O'Mara, KPBS News.