California Governor's $315 Million Plan to Fix Prison Overcrowding

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Aug. 28 2013 4:13 PM

California's Scrambling to Avoid Having Federal Courts Free Thousands From Its Crowded Prisons

107517292
Inmates at Chino State Prison walk in between their double bunks beds in the overcrowded dayroom of Sycamore Hall that was modified to house prisoners on December 10, 2010 in Chino, California

Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

California Gov. Jerry Brown and top lawmakers this week offered up a plan to avoid releasing nearly 9,600-odd inmates from state prisons that federal courts say are unconstitutionally crowded. The proposal: shift the necessary number of inmates from state facilities to privately run prisons and county jails. The price tag: More than $1.1 billion over the next three years. Here's the Los Angeles Times with the background:

The proposal would avoid inmate releases while Brown continues fighting the order to reduce the population in state prisons, which the judges say are unconstitutionally crowded. Plans his administration previously considered could have forced the state to free about 1,000 inmates before their sentences were finished.
The governor is appealing the judges' order to the U.S. Supreme Court but in the meantime is taking steps to comply.
Brown faces an array of political challenges in pushing his plan through the Legislature, notably opposition from Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento). Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) and Republican leaders in both houses flanked Brown for his announcement, but Steinberg was absent, saying later that he would issue his own prison plan Wednesday.
Advertisement

The main complaint from the federal courts has been the inadequate medical and mental health care available to inmates as a result of the overcrowding. According to the Associated Press, courts have gone as far as to call prison conditions a violation of the constitutional protections against cruel and unusual punishment.

Brown said his plan "gives us some breathing room so that we can demonstrate to the courts that our health care and our mental health care meet constitutional muster." If his plan is struck down by the state legislature, then the federal judges say they can order the release of thousands of inmates.

TODAY IN SLATE

History

Slate Plus Early Read: The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.

Mitt Romney May Be Weighing a 2016 Run. That Would Be a Big Mistake.

Amazing Photos From Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution

Transparent Is the Fall’s Only Great New Show

The XX Factor

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada

Now, journalists can't even say her name.

Doublex

Lena Dunham, the Book

More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.

What a Juicy New Book About Diane Sawyer and Katie Couric Fails to Tell Us About the TV News Business

Does Your Child Have Sluggish Cognitive Tempo? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

  News & Politics
Foreigners
Sept. 29 2014 10:00 PM “Everything Must Change in Italy” An interview with Italian Prime Minster Matteo Renzi.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 29 2014 7:01 PM We May Never Know If Larry Ellison Flew a Fighter Jet Under the Golden Gate Bridge
  Life
Dear Prudence
Sept. 29 2014 3:10 PM The Lonely Teetotaler Prudie counsels a letter writer who doesn’t drink alcohol—and is constantly harassed by others for it.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 29 2014 1:52 PM Do Not Fear California’s New Affirmative Consent Law
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 29 2014 8:45 AM Slate Isn’t Too Liberal, but … What readers said about the magazine’s bias and balance.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 29 2014 9:06 PM Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice Looks Like a Comic Masterpiece
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 29 2014 11:56 PM Innovation Starvation, the Next Generation Humankind has lots of great ideas for the future. We need people to carry them out.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 29 2014 12:01 PM This Is Your MOM’s Mars
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 28 2014 8:30 PM NFL Players Die Young. Or Maybe They Live Long Lives. Why it’s so hard to pin down the effects of football on players’ lives.