Brown Signs Compromise Plan To Reduce Calif. Prison Population
The legislation was developed by Brown and Democratic lawmakers (Siders, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 9/12).
In 2006, U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson ruled that federal oversight of the prison system was needed after determining that an average of one inmate per week died as a result of medical malpractice or neglect.
In June, three federal judges ordered Brown to release about 9,600 inmates -- or 8% of the inmate population -- by 2014.
If the state does not comply with the order by the end of the year, officials will have to release inmates based on a list of "low-risk" offenders, according to the judges.
In July, Brown filed a request with Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy for a stay of the order. In August, the U.S. Supreme Court denied Brown's request.
The Brown administration then filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the order.
Details of Compromise Plan
Under the compromise plan passed this week by the state Legislature:
- Brown will ask the judges for an extension to comply with the population cap; and
- $400 million will go toward prisoner rehabilitation efforts, such as mental health care.
The plan does not specify how much additional time the administration would request to comply with the order.
If federal judges reject the extension request, the proposal requires state officials to automatically implement Brown's original plan, which would:
- Shift thousands of inmates to privately owned facilities both in state and out of state;
- Reopen city-owned detention centers in Shafter and Taft; and
- Suspend the planned closure of a rehabilitation center in Norco.
Brown's original plan would cost about $315 million through the end of this year (California Healthline, 9/12).
Brown is expected to present the plan to federal judges next week during a status update (Megerian, "PolitiCal," Los Angeles Times, 9/12).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.