Prison Proposals Get a Senate Hearing

I will be on KPFK’s Uprising tomorrow at 8:20 to discuss the prison mess, as the legislative session draws to a close with no clear plans to comply with the court order.

by Brian Leubitz

Right now, the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee is holding a hearing on the prison proposals. Suffice it to say there is a lot of political posturing going on right now. You can watch now on the CalChannel.

The committee will hear testimony on AB 84, the Senate Democrats’ Safe, Sustainable and Fiscally Responsible Plan to Reduce Crime and Settle the Prison Overcrowding Crisis. The plan, which avoids any early releases of inmates, offers settlement of a federal court order to reduce California’s prison population by approximately 9,600 inmates by December 31, 2013. The committee will also review the Governor’s proposal – which is in included in SB 105 in the Assembly – which relies solely on temporary expanded prison capacity. More details of the plan are available in this post.

However, here are a few numbers from a recent David Binder poll that should probably factor into the decision:

Proposal Sacramento and Northern CA Bay Area Central Valley Los Angeles Area San Diego and Inland Empire
Support Oppose Support Oppose Support Oppose Support Oppose Support Oppose
Public safety commission 70 16 75 13 76 12 73 14 81 11
Provide treatment for mentally ill 78 17 83 10 80 14 80 12 79 12
Incentives for Evidence Based Programs 60 29 60 25 61 25 58 30 60 23

These goals are the heart of the Senate plan, and they are nothing but laudable. However, as the Governor and supporters of his plan are quick to point out, the Senate plan requires a quick settlement with the plaintiffs as well as approval from the courts for a three year delay. And that’s where you get much of the tussling in today’s hearing.

There is no question that our prisons are overcrowded. We are locking up unheard of percentages of our population, and not coming up with any good solutions on how to reduce these numbers. Perhaps the Senate’s plan is a bit of wishful thinking, but our previous attempts have been simplistic and led directly to our current crisis.

But hey, on the bright side, the prisons are going to allow same sex marriages. So, that’s something…

4 thoughts on “Prison Proposals Get a Senate Hearing”

  1. I am a Democrat from the word ‘Go’

    But, the problem with Democrats is they’re ‘Soft on Crime’

    At the drop of a hat they start handing out Love Beads !!

    (Can I have some Blue Love Beads ???)

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