Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to expand the number of prison cells to meet a court order faced opposition Tuesday from Democratic leaders of the state Senate.
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) was noticeably absent from the news conference by the governor and legislators.
The Senate leader has previously said he would not support a plan that only expands prison space without also providing more money for mental health and drug treatment programs that can reduce the number of parolees who return to prison.
Steinberg issued a statement Tuesday in which he said the Senate Democratic Caucus will submit its own plan Wednesday.
“The governor’s proposal is a plan with no promise and no hope,” Steinberg said. “As the population of California grows, it's only a short matter of time until new prison cells overflow and the court demands mass releases again. For every 10 prisoners finishing their sentences, nearly seven of them will commit another crime after release and end up back behind bars.”
Steinberg has support among Senate Democrats for a broader approach. Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) said that the plan put forward by the governor is inadequate and that he will not support it. It requires $315 million this year and $400 million in future years, said Leno, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee.