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Fix Needed for Overcrowded CA Prisons

A scathing report by a state watchdog group recommends California lawmakers either take action now to fix the overcrowded prison system --- or set up an independent panel to do the job. From Sacrament

Fix Needed for Overcrowded CA Prisons

A scathing report by a state watchdog group recommends California lawmakers either take action now to fix the overcrowded prison system --- or set up an independent panel to do the job. From Sacramento, Marianne Russ reports. 

The Little Hoover Commission report says the correctional system is in a tailspin that threatens public safety. It accuses lawmakers of inaction - saying they're afraid to be seen as soft on crime. Commissioner Daniel Hancock:

Hancock: I think there's a sense of frustration and cynicism on the part of the commission that people just haven't taken this issue seriously."

A federal judge has threatened to take over the system, and could redirect state funds to corrections. To avoid that, the commission suggests an independent panel could take over - and set up new sentencing guidelines. Not a good idea, says Republican Assemblywoman and commission member Audra Strickland:

Strickland: Handing over my job of being a representative of the people of my district to an independent unaccountable, unelectable commission is an abdication of my responsibilities."

Governor Schwarzenegger has proposed an advisory sentencing commission - and Democratic Senate Majority Leader Gloria Romero wants to form a similar group…but with more power.  From Sacramento, I'm Marianne Russ