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Prisons Battle Heats Up At Calif. Capitol


Mack Jenkins, Chief of Probation, San Diego County

Margaret Dooley-Sammuli, Senior Policy Advocate for Criminal Justice and Drug Policy, ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties.


Analysis Of The Plans

The California Legislative Analysts Office completed this analysis of both plans designed to reduce prison overcrowding.

California Senate Democrats have approved their own plan to deal with the federal court order to reduce prison overcrowding. They pushed their proposal through the Senate Budget Committee on Wednesday over the objections of Republicans and Governor Jerry Brown.

The battle between Senate Democrats and everyone else at the Capitol - including Gov. Jerry Brown - over how to address a federal court order requiring the state to reduce overcrowding in its prisons is heating up even more.

Corrections Secretary Jeff Beard lobbied strongly for Brown's plan, known as Senate Bill 105. It would increase capacity by contracting out beds from county, private and out-of-state facilities.

"We're very concerned that if Senate Bill 105 is not passed, that what's gonna happen is, we're then gonna be left with having to early release inmates - which none of us, as we've all said, want to do," Beard said.

That prompted a heated response from Democratic Budget Chair Mark Leno.

"To say that if we don't pass SB 105 in a timely fashion means that there will be early release is a fundamental disagreement, because we believe there is another option out there," Leno said.

Instead of increasing prison capacity, Senate Democrats support mental health and substance abuse programs that they say will reduce California's nearly 70 percent recidivism rate.

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