Brown’s Budget Proposal Aims To Reduce Prison Overcrowding
However, Brown's proposal is based on an assumption that the court will grant California an additional two years to comply with the order (AP/U-T San Diego, 1/9).
In 2006, U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson ruled that federal oversight of the state 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 2013, three federal judges ordered Brown to release about 9,600 inmates -- or 8% of the inmate population -- by 2014.
In late September 2013, the judges rejected a request by Gov. Jerry Brown (D) for an additional three years to carry out the inmate reduction order but granted California an additional four weeks to meet the cap.
In December 2013, the judges gave California until April 18 to reduce the prison population (California Healthline, 12/12/13).
Details of Prison-Related Provisions
The budget proposal includes several items related to curbing state prison overcrowding, including:
- $81 million for inmate rehabilitation programs;
- $65 million to help the Department of State Hospitals to provide treatment for violent patients with mental health issues;
- $14 million to stop the smuggling of drugs and other contraband items into prison facilities;
- $8.3 million to redesign the 600-bed Northern California Reentry Facility in Stockton (AP/U-T San Diego, 1/9); and
- $500 million for new jail space, with a 10% county match requirement (White, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 1/8).
The proposal also would:
- Call for all felony sentences at the county level to be split between jail time and mandatory supervision; and
- Lower the cost for counties to send local inmates to state-run firefighting camps (AP/U-T San Diego, 1/9).
Proposal Assumes Two-Year Extension of Reduction Order
Brown's proposal also assumes that judges will grant the state a two-year extension to the reduction order.
Jeffrey Beard, secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said the proposal's two-year delay of the prison reduction order would give the state time to build additional facilities for nearly 3,500 inmates (Thompson, AP/U-T San Diego, 1/8).
If the judges do not give the state a deadline extension, California would have to spend $315 million to find additional housing for inmates, according to the proposal ("Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 1/8). In addition, the state would have to move 7,000 inmates to out-of-state facilities, rather than the 4,000 called for in the proposal (AP/U-T San Diego, 1/8).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.