Gov. Brown Is Really Done with Prison Receiver

Cites high costs and skewed priorities

by Brian Leubitz

Gov. Jerry Brown didn’t like the prison receivership when he was Attorney General and tried to get it closed up. And he sure doesn’t like it any more from the Horseshoe. And he let the world know about said dislike ahead of a hearing to consider the future of the prison receivership.

“During the life of these lawsuits, the prison health care budget has gone from $700 million to $2 billion. … That money is coming out of the university, it’s coming out of child care. It’s a situation you wouldn’t dream anyone would want.”

The governor’s comments came as lawyers prepare for a battle in Sacramento federal court later this month over whether the state is providing a constitutional level of mental health and medical care for inmates. Oral arguments are scheduled for March 27 on California’s motion to terminate oversight of mental health care by U.S. District Judge Lawrence K. Karlton.(SacBee)

The costs of prison health care is never going to return to that $700 million figure, but realignment may have helped somewhat with the high costs. And of course, working to rehabilitate additional low-level offenders and get them out of the system would be the most efficient way to reduce costs. Some of the programs associated with the prison realignment will also help there as we clear out some of the worst of the overcrowding.  

But don’t expect any easy solutions when it comes to our prisons.