Public Safety & Justice

California Governor, Lawmakers Strike Deal to Reduce Prison Overcrowding

Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders broke an impasse Monday over how to reduce prison crowding, agreeing to seek more time for that effort from federal judges but preparing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to relocate inmates if the jurists say no.
September 10, 2013
 

Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders broke an impasse Monday over how to reduce prison crowding, agreeing to seek more time for that effort from federal judges but preparing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to relocate inmates if the jurists say no.

With only four days left in this year's legislative session, the deal resolves a dispute over the best way to abide by an order to shed more than 9,600 inmates from California's packed lockups by Dec. 31.

Under the compromise, the state would ask a panel of three federal judges for time to expand rehabilitation programs aimed at reducing the number of inmates who, after serving their time, commit new crimes and return to prison.

If the judges reject an extension, the state will implement Brown's original plan to spend $315 million this year moving inmates to private prisons, county jails and other facilities. The money for the extra housing would come from the state's $1.1-billion reserve.

The price tag is expected to increase to $415 million for each of the following two years.

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