The courts have told Governor Jerry Brown’s administration to release nearly 10,000 prisoners by the end of the year. Corrections officials say that would be a serious threat to public safety, so they’re looking at temporarily housing inmates in county jails and private and out-of-state facilities. That’s expensive – and would require legislative approval. Senate President Darrell Steinberg acknowledges the state may have no better choice, but says it doesn’t solve the long-term problem.
“So if the court is going to force us to spend limited public dollars on additional jail capacity, there must be a comparable commitment to investing in mental health and substance abuse treatment to keep people out,” he told reporters in his Capitol office Wednesday.
Steinberg says those programs would help reduce the state’s 75 percent recidivism rate for felons – and that’s how California must reduce its prison population in the long term.
Steinberg, Pérez: Delta Tunnel Project Needs Legislative Buy-In
California legislative leaders are pushing back against the contention of Governor Jerry Brown’s administration that its Delta tunnels proposal doesn’t need lawmaker approval.
“I don’t know whether he needs it legally, but I think he needs it politically and other ways,” says Steinberg. He told reporters that without a “breakthrough” on the tunnel project, a new water bond measure would likely not pass the legislature. There’s general agreement that the current $11 billion bond set for the November 2014 ballot is too large to win voter approval.