Archive for September, 2009

Governor’s prison plan would fall short of judges’ demands

Posted on September 18, 2009. Filed under: Courts, Prisons |
September 18, 2009 |  4:14 pm

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger intends today to give federal judges a plan to reduce overcrowding that would take three times as long to do as they ordered — and only if state lawmakers approve some of his proposals.

The plan appears to set up a confrontation between the governor and the judges, who have already made it clear they are impatient. If they find that the state’s proposal is a violation of the order they issued Aug. 4 for a prison plan, they could hold state officials in contempt.

The judges could also ask inmates’ attorneys to present their own plan to reduce overcrowding and order the state to implement it.

Schwarzenegger’s plan would take six years, if lawmakers sign off, to achieve the overcrowding reductions that the federal judges have demanded take place in two years. If lawmakers balk at more prison changes than they reluctantly approved last week on the final day of the legislative session, then the state would still have about 10,000 more inmates after six years than the judges have said is reasonable.

In the plan he submits today, Schwarzenegger will combine a proposal to build new prison beds, which would take years to ease the overcrowding that the judges have ruled unconstitutional, and some ways to reduce the number of inmates.

It avoids anything that might be seen as a mass release of criminals.

–Michael Rothfeld in Sacramento

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