A week after increased revenue estimates looked to frustrate Gov. Jerry Brown's case for higher taxes, a Supreme Court ruling requiring California to reduce its prison population may help.
Brown said in a prepared statement that shifting certain offenders from state prisons to county facilities, as Brown proposes in his budget, is "key" to implementing the court's order today that California reduce its prison population by more than 30,000 inmates.
"We must now secure full and constitutionally guaranteed funding to put into effect all the realignment provisions," he said, a reference to his bid for a ballot measure extending higher taxes.
Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway, of Tulare, called the court's ruling a "reckless and irresponsible decision," saying it could increase the risk of violent crime.
"Despite today's ruling, the Legislature will play a critical role in determining how inmates are released to comply with the court's order," Conway said in a statement. She said Republicans will "work to ensure that dangerous criminals serve the maximum time of their sentence behind bars where they belong."
Brown also pledged to "take all steps necessary to protect public safety."
The California Republican Party, meanwhile, used the ruling as an opportunity to slam Democrats. Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro said in a written statement that Democratic lawmakers have "failed in their most basic obligation to keep Californians safe by building adequate prisons."