California state Sen. Gloria Romero, a Democrat, and Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger may have broken a long gridlock over prison reform in California, says Los Angeles Times columnist George Skelton, who calls it “the first significant compromise of the year between the governor and Legislature.” Skelton says that reform hasn’t been achieved yet, but it’s a major step to agree on reorganization of the scandal-ridden Califonria $7-billion prison system.
More power will shift to the secretary of the renamed Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. This will give the secretary and the governor more flexibility to crack down and “reform.” The tentative plan is to sign the legislation this week at Folsom Prison. After the prison guards union and a crime victims’ group criticized Schwarzenegger’s liberal parole policy, he scrapped it. Romero calls the prison reorganization agreement “an important lesson for the governor and also for the Legislature. It’s government at work. I actually see a ray of sunshine.”