Thursday, April 24, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

California to say how it will cut prison crowding

By Don Thompson

SACRAMENTO — California is housing thousands of inmates out of state and sentencing thousands more to county jails instead of prison, but the draw-down in population is still not enough for the federal courts.

Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration faced a midnight Thursday deadline to detail how it will reduce the inmate population even further. California needs to shed another 9,300 state inmates to reach a court-ordered population cap by the end of the year.

The governor could be cited with contempt of court if judges believe he is trying to dodge their long-standing order, which has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Greatly reducing the state prison population is seen as the most effective way to improve medical and mental health care for inmates. Current treatment has been ruled unconstitutional. Yet the governor has said he cannot reduce the population in the state’s 33 adult prisons any more without endangering public safety.

In addition to filing its plan with the court, the Brown administration also plans to seek a delay while appealing the ruling on overcrowding.

“I’m working every day to try to figure out how to take this case, which we’re losing now, to get in front of the U.S. Supreme Court so we don’t have to let out those 10,000 people.” Brown told a crime victims rally last week, explaining he wants the high court to reconsider its previous decision.

The state must reduce the population in its 33 adult prisons to about 110,000 inmates by year’s end.

The population already has been reduced by about 25,000 inmates under a two-year-old law that is sending felons convicted of what are deemed to be non-serious, non-violent and non-sexual offenses to county jails instead of state prisons.

Brown argues that most of the less serious offenders already have been filtered out of the state prison system. He also says the state can no longer afford to provide “gold plate” prisons at the expense of schools and other social services.

The federal judges said they would hold the governor personally accountable if he keeps ignoring their orders.

They ruled that the state can reduce the prison population by about another 8 percent without increasing crime. Absent a stay of the order, Brown will have to begin moving immediately. Corrections Secretary Jeffrey Beard said the administration was concentrating on alternatives outlined in previous court filings, including:

* Granting more early release credits to inmates, potentially including second-strike inmates who have serious prior convictions.

* Releasing elderly and medically incapacitated inmates who are deemed unlikely to commit new crimes.

* Requiring that felons convicted of drug possession, petty theft, second-degree burglary, vehicle theft and forgery serve their sentences in county jails instead of state prisons.

* Increasing the use of drug treatment centers.

* Paying to house more inmates at private prisons within California.

Some of the options would likely be opposed by state lawmakers, although the federal judges could waive state laws if they said that was necessary to achieve the inmate reduction.

“They could provide increased good-time credits and modestly shorten the terms of people without any effect on public safety at all,” said Don Specter, director of the nonprofit Prison Law Office, which filed a lawsuit over prison crowding.

Complying with the court order also could slow Brown’s plan to bring home about 8,400 inmates who are being housed in private prisons in three other states at an annual cost of about $300 million.

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

     
    4-H members get ready for Spring Show

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Will city move forward on public power review?

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

     
    Obama to Russia: More sanctions are ‘teed up’

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    2 pursuits, 2 arrests keep Woodland officers busy

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
     
    Youth sports in focus on radio program

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Rummage sale will benefit preschool

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Concert benefits South Korea exchange

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Conference puts focus on Arab studies

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Davis honors ‘green’ citizens

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Water rate assistance bill advances

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Program explores STEM careers for girls

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

     
    Embroiderers plan a hands-on project

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Central Park Gardens to host Volunteer Orientation Day

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Volkssporting Club plans North Davis walks

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Hotel/conference center info meeting set

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    MOMS Club plans open house

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    Cycle de Mayo benefits Center for Families

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A8

    Author to read ‘The Cat Who Chose to Dream’

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A12

     
    .

    Forum

    Things are turning sour

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

     
    The high cost of employment

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

    High-five to Union Bank

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Broken sprinklers waste water

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Three more administrators?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Neustadt has experience for the job

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Here’s a plan to save big on employee costs

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6, 3 Comments

     
    Davis is fair, thoughtful

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Ortiz is the right choice for Yolo

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

    .

    Sports

    DHS tracksters sweep another DVC meet

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Another DVC blowout for DHS girls soccer

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Young reinvents his game to help Aggies improve on the diamond

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    DHS boys shuffle the deck to beat Cards

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    DHS/Franklin II is a close loss for Devil softballers

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Baseball roundup: Giants slam Rockies in the 11th

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    UCD roundup: Aggies lose a softball game at Pacific

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

     
    Jahn jumps to Sacramento Republic FC

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B8

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    Congressional art competition open to high school students

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    Emerson, Da Vinci to present ‘Once Upon a Mattress’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    Winters Plein Air Festival begins Friday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    Bach Soloists wrap up season on April 28

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A11

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Thursday, April 24, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B6