Transcript: Assemblyman Jeff Gorell’s Q&A with Attorney Donald Specter on the role of federal courts in California’s prison reform before the Assembly Select Committee on Justice Reinvestment on Oct. 21, 2013

Partial transcript of Assemblyman Jeff Gorell’s (R-Camarillo) Q&A with Donald Specter, Attorney and Director of the Prison Law Office, on the role of federal courts in California prison reform. The hearing before the Assembly Select Committee on Justice Reinvestment was held on Oct. 21, 2013:

Assemblyman Jeff Gorell (R-Camarillo):
You filed lawsuit in 2006 and I believe the very next year, it wasn’t a coincidence, the legislature responded to some of the issues that you raised by passing AB 900. It was bipartisan. It was pretty broad public policy that was to over the subsequent years in theory create up to 40,000 additional bed spaces and presumably some programs to go along with that. The rules of AB 900, the rules of the game were narrowed over the subsequent years to kind of tie the hands of that money and those grants so that today the LAO projects that only 3,014 of the originally projected 40,000 prison beds were ever realized. And so that’s only 8% of the original intention of the legislature. And I wanted to ask you as someone who’s presumably tracked AB 900 and how it’s unfolded if AB 900 were fully funded and implemented as the spirit of the legislation intended it in 2007, would we have the same level of issues that we have today in our state and local prisons?

Donald Specter, Attorney and Director of the Prison Law Office:
Well, you would be spending a lot more money for those 40,000 prison bed than you have available. I mean, corrections department budget is what, $9 billion, $10 billion now? If you – that would be like a 20% increase in the budget. So you would be spending that many more billions of dollars to operate those facilities and you have a lot less money for the other things that come before you.

Assemblyman Jeff Gorell (R-Camarillo):
But wouldn’t that alleviate the position that we’re in now, which is possible forced release of some dangerous inmates?

Donald Specter, Attorney and Director of the Prison Law Office:
Well, if they had built 40,000 prison beds, of course, yes. But they didn’t so that’s where we are now.

###

Learn More:

One Comment on “Transcript: Assemblyman Jeff Gorell’s Q&A with Attorney Donald Specter on the role of federal courts in California’s prison reform before the Assembly Select Committee on Justice Reinvestment on Oct. 21, 2013

  1. Pingback: Spotlight: California Justice Reinvestment Committee hearing on the state prison population - Oct. 21, 2013 | What The Folly?!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.