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Prison reduction plan is DOA in Senate

June 25, 2013|By Paige St. John
  • Senate leader Darrell Steinberg, left.
Senate leader Darrell Steinberg, left. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated…)

Following through on his promises, Senate leader Darrell SteinbergĀ (D-Sacramento) says he has no plans to take up court-ordered legislation proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown to reduce prison crowding.

Brown's office on Friday gave legislative leaders proposed language to increase state spending on private prison beds and jail beds by $450 million over the next two years, increase early release credits and expand parole programs for medically frail and elderly inmates.

The governor had said he did not support most of the measures but was providing them only to comply  with federal court orders to reduce prison crowding.

Steinberg sent Brown a letter Monday supporting the governor's court challenges to those orders and championing state spending on mental health programs instead.

"The Senate does not plan to take up the proposed legislation," said Rhys Williams, Steinberg's press secretary. 

A panel of federal jurists had suspected as much. In last week's order, they waived all state laws and regulations that would prevent the governor from following the order to reduce the prison population by some 9.600 inmates. That makes Steinberg's opposition moot.

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paige.stjohn@latimes.com

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