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L.A. Now Live: How the governor plans to ease prison crowding

August 28, 2013
  • Sheriff's deputies watch inmates at the L.A. County Men's Central Jail. County jails would be one type of facility where some state prison inmates would be housed under Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal.
Sheriff's deputies watch inmates at the L.A. County Men's Central… (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles…)

Gov. Jerry Brown and top lawmakers pledged Tuesday to ease prison crowding without releasing inmates early, laying out a plan to spend hundreds of millions of dollars for alternate housing.

Join us at 9 a.m. when we talk with Times reporter Paige St. John about the governor’s plan and what its repercussions could be across California.

The proposal, which has divided Democratic leaders in the Legislature, would pay for enough beds in privately owned prisons and other facilities to move more than 9,600 inmates from state lockups by the end of the year, as federal judges have ordered.

"This is the sensible, prudent way to proceed," Brown said at a Capitol news conference. "The plan is to find as many cells as needed."

Paying for the extra housing would drain $315 million from the state's $1.1-billion reserve over the next year. The price tag is expected to increase to $415 million for each of the following two years.

The proposal would avoid inmate releases while Brown continues fighting the order to reduce the population in state prisons, which the judges say are unconstitutionally crowded. Plans his administration previously considered could have forced the state to free about 1,000 inmates before their sentences were finished.

The governor is appealing the judges' order to the U.S. Supreme Court, but in the meantime is taking steps to comply.

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