A modified version of Gov. Jerry Brown's prison housing plan appears headed for approval after Brown and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, the plan's chief critic, announced today they reached a compromise.
The state will proceed with Brown's plan to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to reduce California's prison population by moving thousands of inmates to local lockups and out of state, but only if federal judges overseeing California's prison overcrowding case do not give the state more time to address overcrowding.
If the court does give the state additional time, California would invest money it would have in additional prison capacity instead on diversion and recidivism-reduction programs.
Brown, who is under a federal court order to reduce California's prison population by nearly 8,000 inmates, has estimated the cost of his plan at $315 million this budget year and $415 million in each of the following two years.
The agreement, which has the support of Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, D-Los Angeles, and the Republican leadership in both houses, was announced in front of the governor's office today.
Asked if Brown or lawmakers had any expectation the court would grant a delay, Steinberg said, "The default position here, again, is the capacity plan that I have been critical of. But I'm willing to take that risk."
Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers announce a prison housing deal to reporters at the Capitol on Monday, Sept. 9, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/David Siders