Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Governor Jerry Brown is rejecting a federal court order to further reduce California’s prison population. He said the state has addressed the serious health care and overcrowding problems in its prisons at a cost of billions of dollars.
“We don’t have a lot of money. We got to pay down the wall of debt. We have uncertain economic times. We can’t pour more and more dollars down the rat hole of incarceration. We have to spend as much as we need, and no more,” explained Brown.
A federal three-judge panel set a cap on California’s prison population four years ago, and the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the panel’s order to reduce the state’s prison population.
Brown’s realignment program began the reduction by shifting responsibility for low-level offenders to counties. But the governor said releasing any more inmates would hurt public safety. He’s asking the three-judge panel to allow the number of inmates to remain at just under one hundred-fifty percent of the prisons’ design capacity.