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Gov. Jerry Brown and Assembly Speaker John A. Perez do not appear receptive to Senate leader Darrell Steinberg's proposal to settle the lawsuit inmate advocates have brought against the state over crowding in California prisons.

Brown's prepared response to Steinberg's settlement proposal says, "It would not be responsible to turn over California's criminal justice policy to inmate lawyers who are not accountable to the people."

He defended his own plan to spend $315 million on new prison beds, saying it "avoids early releases of thousands of prisoners and lays the foundation for longer-term changes, and that's why local officials and law enforcement support it."

Perez criticized Steinberg's proposal and said Brown's "is the right plan given our circumstances."

It keeps inmates behind bars and develops long-term cost-effective solutions that protect public safety," said a prepared statement from Perez.

"The Governor's plan achieves what the Senate says they want--without kicking the can down the road to achieve it. Some of the elements of Senator Steinberg's proposal are already included in our bipartisan plan, but I am deeply skeptical about Senator Steinberg's approach that gives prisoner plaintiffs who favor mass release of prisoners the power to set our prison population and effectively takes the people's elected representatives out of the equation. Safe communities shouldn't be the hope for Californians - -they should be the reality, and our bipartisan plan, supported by law enforcement, keeps communities safe."

PHOTO: Gov. Jerry Brown delivers his State of the State speech on Jan. 24, 2013. Assembly Speaker John A. Perez, D-Los Angeles, is at left and Senate President Pro Temp Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, is at right. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua


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