The Assembly Budget Committee has approved an emergency measure that would send $315 million to move roughly 9,000 inmates to out-of-state facilities and leased prison spaces run by state employees by years' end.
The measure, Assembly Bill 105, doesn't cover costs for fiscal 2014-15 -- an estimated $415 million -- or beyond.
The Brown administration's proposal enjoyed support today from a number of law-and-order groups. They noted that the state has already responded to federal court orders to reduce the prison population by sentencing more convicts to local jails.
"We've reached critical mass," said Ron Cottingham, president of Peace Officers Research Association of California.
Opponents, including the ACLU and inmates' rights organizations, blasted Brown's plan for spending money on more prison beds that could go to education, rehabilitation and programs for the poor.
Jim Lundberg of Friends Committee on Legislation in California, a Quaker-based group, said Brown's plan "is not a balanced approach" that ignores early release and parole options. He feared a plan sold as a temporary fix would become a permanent fixture instead of a temporary fix.
"Why, once given this money, Lundberg said, "what would be the administration's motivation for giving it back?"
The budget committee approved the measure 21-0.