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Split Over Bond Funds To Relieve Prison Overcrowding

tomsaint / Flickr

tomsaint / Flickr

Governor Jerry Brown’s request for $500 million in bond funds to relieve prison overcrowding is getting mixed reviews in the legislature.

The Assembly Budget Committee has approved Brown’s request that all the money go to local jail expansion. 

Elizabeth Howard-Espinoza is with the California State Association of Counties.

"We need facilities that have the kind of space available for treatment, for programming, for education," says Espinoza.

Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson is President of the California State Sheriff’s Association. He says the Assembly Budget Committee’s approval of Brown’s original proposal will help secure needed upgrades to county facilities.

“We want to make sure that we’re meeting the needs of the community and that included medical and mental health care," says Chistianson. "But you can’t do that in facilities that were built in the 40s and 50s.

Critics prefer a Senate proposal that would allocate most of the money to anti-recidivism, drug treatment, mental health and other local community programs.

A federal court has ordered the state to dramatically reduce its prison population.

The Assembly and Senate proposals are going to a conference committee to try and reach a compromise.

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