CA Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg says legislature will not approve Gov. Brown’s plan to comply with federal court order to reduce prison population

California Senate Pro-Tem Darrell Steinberg during the Senate Rules Committee hearing on June 19, 2013. SOURCE: CalChannel.com

California Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) said the legislature will not pass Gov. Jerry Brown’s “ugly” plan to comply with the three-judge panel’s order to reduce the state prison population to 137.5% of design capacity by the end of this year.

“The administration is complying as they must with the current order by suggesting a series of statutes to us that we’re not going to pass,” said Steinberg at a Senate Rules Committee hearing last Wednesday. “They are, let’s just say, ambivalent or neutral on whether or not we actually pass it or not because the Governor, rightfully in my view, is appealing the three-judge panel order to the United States Supreme Court.”

Read more: California presents “ugly” plan to comply with court order to reduce inmate population

The plan was submitted on May 2 to avoid contempt of the court charges after a judge rejected California’s bid to lift federal oversight of the state’s prison medical and mental health systems. But the plan submitted would still fall short of achieving the 137.5% benchmark by the end of 2013.

The plan called for expanding capacity by leasing about 1,600 jail beds from Los Angeles and Alameda counties; continuing the transfer of inmates to out-of-state prisons through June 30th and slowing their rate return; and leasing and retrofitting private prison facilities, which would be operated by state prison guards.

The Brown administration also proposed reducing the inmate population by increasing credits that can be earned by non-violent offenders for early release; expanding the medical parole program; and considering parole for low-risk elderly inmates who have served length prison terms.

All of these measures would require the state legislature’s approval because “it either requires more money or it requires some change in state law”, according to Jeffrey Beard, who was appointed as Secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in December.

However, last Thursday, the federal court ordered the state to implement additional measures to fully comply with the court’s 137.5% benchmark, calling attention to the Brown administration’s “continued failure to cooperate with this Court” and follow its ruling on the population benchmark, which was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2011.

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One Comment on “CA Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg says legislature will not approve Gov. Brown’s plan to comply with federal court order to reduce prison population

  1. Pingback: Three-judge panel compels California to expand "good time" credits to comply with federal order to reduce prison population | What The Folly?!

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